November 10, 2021

Yangzi Liu overcame tough European and Asian opponents to claim three back to back 2021 World Table Tennis Youth Contender Under 19 Girls’ Singles event titles in Italy, Slovak Republic and Hungary

Over the past two weeks Australian representatives 19 year old Yangzi Liu, 16 year old Nicholas Lum and Finn Luu have proven that they are the ones to watch by winning a combined 5 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals at the World Table Tennis Youth Contender events in Italy, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.

WTT Youth Contender Lignano

The news of the Aussie success began in Lignano, Italy where the WTT Youth Contender event was held from 24 to 30 October 2021. Nicholas Lum won the Under 17 Boys’ Singles event dropping just one game on his way to the quarter-finals. He posted two more 3-0 results showing his dominance and skill against Vit Kadlec from the Czech Republic and Zhenlong Liu from Austria respectively. In the final Lum overcame Taiwo Mati in a tough five setter, being 1 to 2 games down, Lum recovered and won the remaining two sets and claimed his first WTT youth title. In the same event Finn Luu also performed outstandingly where he made the semi-finals and was stopped by Taiwo Mati in a close fiver setter, thereby claiming a bronze medal.

In the Under 19 Girls’ Singles, Yangzi Liu overcame tough European opponents from Italy, Austria and Sweden. In the final Liu faced Jingyi Zhou from Singapore and claimed her first WTT title by winning the match three games to one.

WTT Youth Contender Senec

Only days after claiming the title, Yangzi Liu proved that it was no fluke by winning the Under 19 Girls’ Singles only days later at the WTT Youth Contender event in Senec, Slovak Republic, held from 1 to 7 November 2021. Liu won six consecutive matches without losing a single game and added her second WTT Youth Series title. “I’m really delighted with this win as it means a lot to me. I’m enjoying my good form at the moment, and I hope to continue playing well.” said Liu.

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Nicholas Lum also continued his winning streak by winning the Under 17 Boys’ Singles at the same event . The toughest match for Lum was in the Round of 64 where he was pushed to the distance by Federico Otalvaro from Colombia but Lum eventually prevailed three games to two with a narrow margin of 11-9 in the final set. “It has been a tiring couple of days, playing back-to-back events, so the key for me was to make sure I was mentally stable throughout the whole match. I’m just so happy I’ve won, and I hope to continue my good form for the Under 19 event now,” said a delighted Lum.

In the Under 19 Boys’ Singles both Finn Luu and Nicholas Lum continued to perform well in the tougher age group, with Luu reaching the quarter-finals and Lum adding a bronze medal to the haul after being stopped by Simon Belik from the Czech Republic by the narrowest of margins with the score 12-10 in the fifth game.

Nicholas Lum winning the Under 17 Boys’ Singles at the 2021 World Table Tennis Youth Contender event in Senec, Slovak Republic

WTT Youth Contender Szombathely

The last European WTT Youth Contender Event for the Australian trio was held in Szombathely, Hungary. In the Under 17 Boys’ Singles Finn Luu reached the round of 32 where he lost 2-3 to Payas Jain from India whilst teammate Nicholas Lum continued his run and added another medal to his collection. Lum settled for silver after overcoming players from Germany, Thailand, Cezch Republic, Spain and Croatia. In the final Simon Belik from the Czech Republic proved to be too strong winning 3 games to 1. In the Under 19 Boys’ Singles both Luu and Lum reached the quarter-finals.

In the Under 19 Girls’ Singles event Yangzi Liu capped off a remarkable run of form in Europe by winning her third gold medal in two weeks. Liu stormed into the final by winning against players from India, France and Austria. In the final it was looking likely that Liu would settle for silver when she trailed 0-2. However, Liu turned the match around and won the next three sets 8, 7, 8 and thereby winning all three Under 19 Girls’ Singles events she entered in Italy, Slovak Republic and Hungary.

The performances by each of the players has shown genuine international competitiveness for Australian table tennis. Their performances are outstanding considering that they were unable to travel to compete internationally for the past 18 months due to border closures. During this time they continued to put in the hard work with the National Squad training in Melbourne and without a doubt the hard work is starting to pay off.

Finn Luu on his way to winning a bronze medal at the 2021 World Table Tennis Youth Contender Under 17 Boys’ Singles event in Lignano, Italy

Full results from the WTT Youth Contender Events:

Lignano, Italy (24 to 30 October 2021) can be found HERE.

Senec, Slovakia Republic (1 to 7 November 2021) can be found HERE.

Szombathely, Hungary (1 to 7 November 2021) can be found HERE.