WISDOM 2014 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
SUNDAY 7TH DECEMBER
JUNIOR BOYS’ SINGLES
Yu Ziyang Secures Boys’ Singles Title
Winner of the Men’s Singles title earlier in the year at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, China’s Yu Ziyang secured Boys’ Singles gold in the Minhang Gymnasium on the evening of Sunday 7th December, to close the curtain on the Wisdom 2014 World Junior Championships in Shanghai.
The second seed, at the final hurdle he overcame Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu, the top seed, to reserve the top step of the medal podium.
Unrelenting, Yu Ziyang won in four straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9); thus for the second time in a major global tournament it was the second step of the podium for the gallant Yuto Muramatsu.
Earlier in the year he had been the runner up in the Men’s Singles event at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games; on that occasion beaten by Yu Ziyang’s colleague, Fan Zhendong.
Unquestionably pressure was heaped on the young shoulders of Yu Ziyang. It was a pressure match in more ways than one.
Chinese players are expected to win; simply the record that goes before the young players in action in the Minhang Gymasium puts them on a different pedestal to the rest of mankind. A Chinese players loses it is news.
Furthermore, one year ago in Rabat, it was the one title that China did not win; the score needed to be settled.
Added to the equation was the fact that every title contested to date in Shanghai had finished with the gold medal being draped around the neck of a player from the host nation.
Yu Ziyang was under pressure, the task was to respond to the pressure; it was a test of the mental capabilities of the 16 year old.
However, if you are to be a great player, it is in those situations that you must respond. Great credit to Yu Ziyang, he responded.
Determined, motivated and vocal, Yu Ziyang responded. A tirade of vicious forehand top spin strokes, the natural diagonal from the left hander’s forehand into the backhand of the right handed defender kept Yuto Muramatsu pinned to the court surrounds.
Add to the occasion, equally severe forehand top spins arrowed with pin point accuracy to the so-called indecision point, where the opponent has to decide between backhand and forehand, saw Yu Ziyang seize control.
Close hard fought games but the first two went in the same direction, both to Yu Ziyang.
In the third game Yi Ziyang established a 5-2 lead; Kunihito Taaei, the Japanese coach, called “Time Out”.
Yuto Muramutsu kept fighting, thrilling the crowd with his dazzling defence. He reduced the arrerars to 8-9; Liu Guozheng, the Chinese Boys’ Team National Coach, sitting courtside, called “Time Out”.
Three hard fought points ensued; two of them went to Yu Ziyang. He led by three games to nil.
Hard fought and the fourth was just as hard fought but at the crucial stages Yu Ziyang kept his nerve, maintained his focus.
At 10-9 in the fourth game he held match point; he converted at the first opportunity, he sank to his knees as emotion gushed from his body. The name on the role of honour was that of Yu Ziyang.
“I did feel the pressure before the match and I did feel nervous; the problem is that is you are Chinese you are expected to win; if you lose then it’s big news”, said Yu Ziyang. “However, one the match started, I felt fine.”
Yu Ziyang was positive from the very start, the first attack always fearsome.
“Definitely winning that close first game was really most important; that gave me confidence”, added Yu Ziyang. “He return the ball with very heavy backspin but I felt comfortable, especially when playing towards his backhand.”
Yuto Muramatsu uses the long pimpled rubber of the backhand; therefore, the more top spin imparted on the ball, a heavy backspin return was oftern the norm.
“I know Yuto but perhaps he knows more about me than I know about him”, concluded Yu Ziyang. “I’m pleased I won but I was expected to win so now it’s a great feeling of relief!”
Success for Yu Ziyang, success for China, the clean sweep completed.
SUNDAY 7TH DECEMBER
Two Steps Higher, Wang Manyu Secures Girls’ Singles Crown
Bronze medallist one year ago in the Moroccan city of Rabat, China’s Wang Manyu climbed two steps higher up the medal podium one year later.
On the afternoon of Sunday 7th December she won the Girls’ Singles title at the Wisdom 2014 World Junior Championships on home soil in the Chinese city of Shanghai.
Occupying the no.5 seeded position in the competition, she accounted for compatriot Zhu Chaohui, the no.9 seed, to arrest the title (12-10, 11-6, 14-12, 6-11, 12-10).
A close opening game; undoubtedly that settled the nerves of Wang Manyu; the second game was won with a degree of ease.
No doubt winning the early points in the second game added to the confidence of the player who earlier in the day had been required to settle for the silver medal in the Mixed Doubles event.
Again in the third game she made a good start, she went ahead 7-2 but this time she did not capitalise on the advantage. Zhu Chaohui recovered to level at 8-all before at 10-9 holding game point.
Wang Manyu saved the game point before on her third attempt she won the game and moved into a three games to nil lead.
Facing the point of no return, Zhu Chaohui established a 4-1 lead in the fourth game.
Wang Manyu responded to level at 6-all but then lost the next five points.
The match deficit was reduced to two games.
Wang Manyu won the first three points of the fifth game.
Danger signals looming, Zhu Chaohui called “Time Out”. Resolute Wang Manyu gradually increased the advantage, in rallies she was the favourite against a more powerful adversary but Zhu Chaohui fought, she levelled at 7-all and at 10-8 held two game points.
Both were saved before at 11-10, Wang Manyu held match point; one chance, it was taken. Wang Manyu celebrated and let out of shriek of delight.
The reaction underlined the importance of the occasion. Wang Manyu is the quietest young lady in China.
“It’s the greatest day of my life”, smiled Wang Manyu. “I am World champion!”
The celebration at the end was a release of emotion.
“During the match I tried to keep control of my emotions, I tried to keep calm; if I started yelling and screaming I’d lose concentration”, added Wang Manyu. “Since last year when I lost in the semi-final I have played in many international tournaments, so now I have much more experience.”
More experience and in Shanghai an experience she will never forget, the Girls’ Singles gold medallist at the Wisdom 2014 World Junior Championships.
WISDOM 2014 WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
SUNDAY 7TH DECEMBER
Stalwart Defence and Electric Speed Secures Success
Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu and Yu Ziyang, the respective top two seeds in the Boys’ Singles event at the Wisdom 2014 World Junior Championships in Shanghai, emerged successful at the semi-final stage of proceedings on the morning of Sunday 7th September.
Fast, incisive, Yu Ziyang accounted for colleague Liu Dingshuo, the no.10 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-1, 12-10), after the defensive talents of Yuto Muramatsu had proved too great for Xue Fei, the no.15 seed.
Impressively Yuto Muramatsu had prevailed in four straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
Mistakes after mistakes accrued from the racket of Xue Fei as the defensive skills of Yuto Muramatsu stood firm.
At the quarter-final stage, one day earlier, Yuto Muramatsu had been required to combine forehand top spin attacking skills with defensive play to beat Xue Fei’s colleague, Lyu Xiang.
Stalwart defence proved sufficient as an over anxious Xue Fei tried to over-power Japanese defensive skills. The mind went back to the Liebherr 2007 World Championships in Zagreb, when an 18 year old Ma Long had tried to blast Korea’s Joo Saehyuk into outer space and had come unstuck.
The same was happening to Xue Fei but let us not forget, he is only 15 years old; it was a learning experience and as he matures and becomes stronger, battles against defensive players may well end with a different result.
“I felt confident before the match”, said Yuto Muramatsu. “He had no power, so I was very content to be patient and keep defending; when it was short play near the net, he was very good.”
Intelligently, Yuto Muramatsu returned the ball long early in the rally; in his efforts to drill the ball past his Japanese adversary he made mistakes. He who keeps the ball on the table longer wins; such was the situation for Yuto Muramatsu.
Controlled resolute defence had won the first Boys’ Singles semi-final; lightning seed from Yu Ziyang won the second.
Winner earlier in the year of the Men’s Singles event on the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, Yu Ziyang was on fire from the very first point, he was clearly confident with his speed forcing Liu Dingshuo into a more passive answering role.
Yu Ziyang won the first two games, in the third he led 4-1; Liu Dingshuo fearing being overwhelmed, called “Time Out”. It proved a prudent move, Liu Dingshuo recovered to win a close third game.
“I think after the “Time Out”, I relaxed a little and Liu Dingshuo played very aggressively”, said Yu Ziyang. “After losing that game I knew the fourth was vital, if I lost that game I knew that Liu Dingshuo would be really confident, so I was one hundred per cent focused.”
Success for Liu Dingshuo but immediately, Yu Ziyang like a wounded tiger responded to secure the fourth game, he lost only one point; at 10-8 in the fifth held two match points.
Both were saved by the spirited Liu Dingshuo but when a third opportunity appeared at 11-10, he was not able to repeat the feat.
“At 10-8 I became anxious, I rushed”, concluded Yu Ziyang. “However, at 10-all I felt quite calm and I believed I can win.”
The belief was justified; Yu Ziyang had booked his place in the final.