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Taicang – Sunday 8th July


Stand aside Tomokazu, Miwa centre stage

An incredible performance at the recent Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Lion Japan Open when in the latter stages he beat Ma Long, Lee Sangsu and Zhang Jike one after another to win the Men’s Singles title; one month later on Sunday 8th July, he was not the member of the family making headline news.

Younger sister, Miwa Harimoto won the Mini-Cadet Girls’ Singles title at the 2018 China Junior and Cadet Open in Taicang.

Making her first appearance at an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament, the young lady who celebrated her 10th birthday just under one month ago on Saturday 16th June, beat Hong Kong’s Chelsea Chan Shiu Lam in a closely contested full distance five games final (11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 7-11, 11-5) to arrest the title.

The win for Miwa Harimoto reflects the progress that she has made in recent years; in 2012, the year she celebrated her fourth birthday, she reached the round of 64 in the Under 8 Years Girls’ Singles event at the Japanese National Championships. It was the same outcome in 2013, before in 2014 she was a semi-finalist and in 2015 the winner.

One year later in 2016, she had to settle for runners up spot, before in 2017 being the Under 10 Girls’ Singles runner up.

Earlier this year in April, she won the Under 12 National Team selection round robin tournament; a most exacting competition comprising 32 players. She won 31 matches, losing just one!

Success for Miwa Harimoto contrary to expectations, in the counterpart Mini-Cadet Boys’ Singles event, Hong Kong’s Yu Nok emerged victorious; the top seed, at the final hurdle he beat Iran’s Mohammad Amin Samadi (11-5, 13-15, 11-8, 11-6).

Now, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are just too soon but what of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games? Mixed Doubles – Tomokazu and Miwa Harimoto? 

Titles for Hiroto Shinozuka and Kuai Man

A place in the quarter-finals secured the previous day somewhat against expectations, his name not appearing amongst the seeded players; Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka won the Cadet Boys’ Singles title at the 2018 China Junior and Cadet Open in Taicang on Sunday 8th July.

Rather differently, in the Cadet Girls’ Singles competition, the name of the winner was only a minor surprise; the host nation’s Kuai Man, the no.2 seed, emerged successful.

On the penultimate day of action, Hiroto Shinozuka, whose name appears at no.64 on the current Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, had caused a major upset by beating China’s Kuang Li, the no.2 seed and winner of the Junior Boys’ Singles title earlier in the year in Thailand.

Impressively, he had won in three straight games (12-10, 11-5, 11-7); on the concluding day of action he maintained that form. In the round of the last he beat Hong Kong’s Choy Chun Kit (11-9, 11-5, 11-7), followed by respective success against the host nation duo of Chen Yaxuan (11-6, 14-12, 11-3) and Tao Yuchang (11-5, 11-6, 11-6).

In the opposite half of the draw; in the latter stages Tao Yuchang had also faced Japanese opposition. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Kazuki Hamada (8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-4), prior to reserving his place in the final courtesy of success against Haruki Harada (13-11, 6-11, 14-12, 11-5).

Success for Hiroto Shinozuka in a most imposing manner; for Kuai Man, life was more testing.

After overcoming Hong Kong’s Phoebe Hui Wai, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-9), she lost the opening two games against Hina Kizuka, before winning the next three to book her place in the final (7-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7). A testing hurdle overcome, in the final she accounted for colleague, Chen Yi, the top seed, to arrest the title (11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-5).

In the adjacent half of the draw, in the quarter-final round Chen Yi had beaten Japan’s Yua Yamasaki (11-4, 11-5, 11-4), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to colleague, Li Yuqi, the no.5 seed (4-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4).

Matters concluded in Taicang, attention now turns to the city of Amman; the 2018 Jordan Junior & Cadet Open commences on Wednesday 25th July.