Kuwait, Feb 15, 2013: Bright Young, The next generation shone on the opening day of action, Thursday 14th February, at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Kuwait Open; the first Super Series tournament of the year with a total prize fund of $300,000 in an overall Tour worth in excess of $2,500,000.
Young players from Japan and France stole the show in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event.
Masataka MORIZONO, 17 year old, the winner in January of the Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF Junior Circuit Finals, staged one month ago in the Central America country of Guatemala, set the tone; he beat Belgium’s Jean-Michel SAIVE, the former World no.1 and European champion (9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9).
An impressive win from the Japanese teenager whose efforts were matched by his colleagues, Asuka SAKAI and Yuto HIGASHI, likewise both 17 years old; Asuka SAKAI beat Brazil’s Cazuo MATSUMOTO, the winner of the Men’s Singles title at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Spanish Open in January (11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6), whilst Yuto HIGASHI overcame Egypt’s El-Sayed LASHIN, the incumbent African champion (11-7, 11-4, 14-12, 6-11, 11-13, 7-11, 11-5).
All three remained unbeaten on the first day of play as did the French trio of Simon GAUZY, Quentin ROBINOT and Romain LORENTZ.
Simon GAUZY, 19 years old, accounted for India’s Soumyajit GHOSH to end his day on a high note (12-10, 4-11, 11-3, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4), a win as status predicted but for colleagues Quentin ROBINOT and Romain LORENTZ, both 20 years old, they had to cause upsets by beating more experienced adversaries.
Quentin ROBINOT overcame Russia’s Vasily LAKEEV, the Men’s Singles winner in 2012 at the ITTF World Tour Challenge Series tournaments in both Belarus and Egypt in 2012 (11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9), before Romain LORENTZ brought the day to an end by overcoming Ukraine’s Oleksandr DIDUKH (6-11, 14-12, 14-12, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8).
Success for France and it was a day of celebration for the GAUZY family; younger brother 16 year old Paul won the Boys’ Singles title at the ITTF Junior Circuit tournament in the Czech Republic. He beat Portugal’s João GERALDO on the final (8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 13-11).
The counterpart Girls’ Singles event was won by Croatia’s Lea RAKOVAC, at the final hurdle she defeated Romania’s Bernadett BALINT (7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8). —- ITTF/ Photo by Ahmed Khalil