MUSCAT: Iran’s brave efforts ended in the semifinal stage of the 2018 Oman Junior and Cadet Open against China on Thursday. Represented by Amirreza Abbasi and Amin Ahmadian, Iran ‘A’ experienced a three-one defeat at the hands of China’s Quan Kaiyuan, Xu Haidong and Yuan Licen; for the Iran ‘B’ duo of Ali Akbar Shoari and Aryan Ghaffari it was even closer, a three-two reverse was the outcome against the combination of Egypt’s Marwan Abdelwahab and Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun.
Marwan Abdelwahab won the vital match to his team a place in the final.
The player to cause China problems was Amirreza Abbasi, a young man with a very personalised style of play.
He uses long pimpled rubber on the backhand, returning service from that side of the racket whenever possible and with, what can only be described as executing a dead bat, puts doubts in the mind of his adversary when blocking.
Most certainly he put doubts in the mind of Quan Kaiyuan; a four games win was recorded (12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9). However, when he faced Xu Haidong in the contest that brought the fixture to a conclusion, it was a very different scenario; the fact Hu Xaidong had competed in the two most recent World Junior Championships put him several steps ahead in the experience stakes. Impressively, Xu Haidong prevailed in three straight games (11-3, 11-7, 11-3).
Success for Xu Haidong who emerged the pivotal player for the Chinese team. In the second match of the fixture, he had beaten Amin Ahmadian (11-2, 11-4, 11-4) prior Quan Kaiyuan teaming with Yuan Licen to secure the doubles (11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 20-18).
A hard fought semifinal success for China, it was the same for Marwan Abdelwahab and Yanapong Panagitgun.
Against Ali Akbar Shoari and Aryan Ghaffari, Marwan Abdelwahab and Yanapong Panagitgun could not have made a more inauspicious start.
Marwan Abdelwahab lost to Ali Akbar Shoari (7-11, 7-11, 7-11), Yanapong Panagitgun was beaten by Aryan Ghaffari (12-10, 2-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10). It was at that stage the tide turned. Marwan Abdelwahab and Yanapong Panagitgun won the doubles by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 14-12), before Yanapong Panagitgun accounted for Ali Akbar Shoari (11-9, 11-7, 11-7) and Marwan Abdelwahab overcame Aryan Ghaffari to complete the recovery (11-5, 11-9, 1-11, 9-11, 11-7). The final will be played later in the day.
On the opening day, Iran and India emerged the beneficiaries.
In the Junior Boys’ Team event, Iran ‘B’, the No 8 seeds, represented by Ali Akbar Shoari and Aryan Ghaffari beat Sweden’s Oskar Danielsson and Jens Holmqvist, the No 5 seeds and thus booked their place in the main draw.
First place for China, it was the same for the other leading outfits in the Junior Boys’ Team event as play concluded. Iran ‘A’ fielding Amin Ahmadian and Amirreza Abbasi, the top seeds, duly topped their group. Likewise, it was pole position for the combination of Thailand’s Yanapong Panagitgun and Marwan Abdelwahab, the No 2 seeds as it was for Jordan’s Hasan Alhourani and Khaled Khader, the No 4 seeds.
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Junior Girls’ Team competition organised on a group basis, India’s Swatstika Ghosh and Varuni Jaiswal, the No 3 seeds, overcame the combination of the Czech Republic’s Martina Novakova and Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut, having earlier in the day experienced a three-nil defeat when facing the Chinese combination of Qian Tianyi, Guo Yuhan and Zhang Binyue.
Martina Novakova and Jinnipa Sawettabut meet China in their concluding fixture.