Back from the brink Haruki Harada strikes gold

by Ian Marshall, Editor

However, the success was not without moments of trials and tribulations.

The no.6 seed, after causing a quarter-final upset by beating Germany’s Mike Hollo, the top seed, in three straight games (11-8, 11-4, 11-8), later against colleagues, life became more exacting. In the penultimate round he beat Haruki Michihiro, a player who had been required to compete in the group qualification stage, he prevailed by the very narrowest of margins in the deciding fifth game (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9).

In the final, life was no different, in fact even more exacting. He staved off a brave recovery by 10 year old, Sora Matsushima, the no.2 seed, saving one match point in the fifth game before winning three in a row to secure the title (11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10).

Notably, Haruki Michihiro was very much a player in form; in the third round he had ousted Australia’s Finn Luu, the no.3 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-9), before in the quarter-finals overcoming Russia’s Denis Izumdrunov, the no.7 seed and the winner the previous week in the Czech Republic (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-5).

Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, in the later rounds, Sora Matsushima had accounted for Singapore’s Izaac Quek Yong, the no.5 seed (11-8, 14-12, 6-11, 11-4), prior to reserving his place in the final, courtesy of success in opposition to Germany’s Felix Kholer, the no.13 seed (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 15-13). Similar to Haruki Michiro, Felix Kohler had caused Russia heartache in the quarter-finals; he had beaten Vladislav Makarov, the no.4 seed (11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 15-13).

Play concluded in Örebro, the next stop on the ITTF World Junior Circuit is Santiago, the five day Chile Junior and Cadet Open commences on Wednesday 20th March.

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