Germany’s Cédric Meissner and Taipei’s Lin Yung-Chih caused early upsets on the first of two days of play in the boys’ singles group stages at the International Table Tennis Federation World Junior Championships in Australia.
Both ended the day unbeaten at the Bendigo Stadium in Victoria and now look likely to be joining the top 16 seeds in the main draw.
But each knows there is no margin for error as only the top player in each group will progress.
Meissner won his opening contest of the day 15-13, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7 against Brazil’s Guilherme Teodoro, the highest rated player in the group and the third highest on duty in the group qualification phase.
The German maintained his form with victory over Argentina’s Santiago Lorenzo 9-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9, 11-4.
The wins mean that whatever the outcome in the remaining matches, providing he walks to the table for his contest against New Zealand’s Zhao Yanglun, hitherto without a win to his name, first place in the group is assured.
Lu made his own early impact on the competition by beating Sweden’s Martin Friis 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10 before earning victory over Frenchman Irvin Bertrand, the highest listed player in the group, by 11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-8.
Lu now faces Singapore’s Gerald Yu Zong Jun in the contest that will determine the final order.
In his opening engagement Jun lost to Bertrand 11-9, 115, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9 but beat Friis 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, 11-4.
Further upsets in the boys’ singles were contributed by Nikhl Kumar of the United States, lowest ranked in his group, who ended the day unbeaten.
A silver medallist two weeks ago in the men's team event at the Pan American Championships in Santiago, Kumar beat Argentina’s Martin Bentancor 11-4, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11 before overcoming Russia’s Lev Katsman 11-8, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5.
Provided Kumar walks to the table to play Iran’s Navid Shams in his concluding group stage contest, top spot is guaranteed.
In his opening matches Shams, only 13 years old, was beaten by both Lev Katsman - 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 - and by Martin Bentancor, 13-11, 5-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7.
In the girls’ singles group phase, Serbians Tijana Jokic and Andjela Menger now have high hopes of a place in the knock-out rounds.
Jokic beat Australia’s Parleen Kaur 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8 and Singapore’s Zhou Jingyi 13-11, 11-8, 11-2, 10-12, 11-5.
Earlier in the day Zhou had accounted for the leading name in her group, Russia’s Ekaterina Zironova, 6-11, 11-3, 4-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6.
Jokic now meets Zironova to determine first place in the group.
Menger accounted for New Zealand’s Vong Hui Ling 13-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 before beating Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus, the highest rated player in the group.
It was a closely fought contest, decided by the very minimal two point margin 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-13, 7-11, 12-10.
The tournament continues tomorrow.