Chinese Taipei shocked arch rivals China 3-1 in the boys' semi-finals to set up a title clash with Korea, who blanked Japan 3-0, in the 9th Asian Junior Table Tennis championships at the Kotla Vijayabahskara Reddy Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The Chinese girls made up for the disappointing show by their boys, scoring a 3-0 victory over Japan in the semi-finals. They will now take on Korea, who beat Chinese Taipei by an identical margin.
Breaching the great Chinese Wall, Taipei, a tiny island off the mainland, showed grit and sustained aggression to subdue the Asian powerhouse, which boasted of world No 2 Yang Xiaofu in their ranks. Xiaofu was upset in the opening match by unheralded Chiang Hung Chieh.
For the first time in the tournament, China was seen struggling and searching for room against a spirited onslaught by the Taipei youngsters.
Firing the first salvo, Chiang, displaying stunning forehand attacks, humbled Xiaofu before a stunned audience in a game which stretched to the limits.
Chinese Taipei put up a sterling performance in the second game with world number 16 Wu Chih Chi firing on all cylinders and getting into the rhythm early. Ma Zong could hardly get any time to settle down. The Chinese did try to adopt a different strategy by relying on long rallies but could not clinch the game though he managed to stretch it to five games.
Zheng Chang Gong raised Chinese hopes by demolishing Sun Wen Wei in straight sets to make the scoreline 2-1.
World No 2 Xiaofu was pitted in the reverse singles but he could not change the complexion of the game as Wu Chih Chi thundered his way to a convincing victory after dropping the second game to send the defending champions out of the reckoning.
In the other semi-final, Korea defeated Japan 3-0 in a one-sided match as the Japanese could hardly put up an resistance.
The girls semi-final matches were played on expected lines and were mostly one-sided affairs. Fan Yin, Pen Lu Yung and Li Xia Xia kept the Chinese flag aloft by brushing aside Japan while Korea displayed similar superiority against Chinese Taipei.
Boys: Korea bt Japan 3-0 (Lim Tae Hyn bt Muramori Minoru 2-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5; Lee in Kwon bt Kishikawa Seiya 11-5, 11-8, 12-10; Kim Tae Hoon bt Tokiyoshi Yichi 11-6, 11-6, 11-5).
Chinese Teaipei bt China 3-1 (Chiang Hung Chieh bt Yang Xiaofu 11-9, 6-11, 13-11, 10-12, 11-8; Wu Chih Chi bt Ma Zong 7-11, 12-14, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5; Sun Wen Wei lost to Zheng Changgong 9-11, 9-11, 6-11; Wu Chih Chi bt Yang Xiaofu 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4.)
Girls: Korea bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Jee Min Hyung bt Lee I Chen 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 11-3; Seio Myeong Eun bt Lin Chia Hui 11-7, 11-9, 11-5; Kim Jung Hyun bt Chen I 12-10, 11-7, 11-4).
China bt Japan 3-0 (Fan Ying bt Hirano Sayaka 11-9, 6-11, 11-1, 11-8; PengLuyang bt Fukuhara Ai 11-13, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7; Li Xiaoxia bt Ito Midori 11-3, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7).