Tom Jarvis on his way to the title (picture by Alan Man)

Jarvis and Ho take Under-21 titles

Author:
Paul Stimpson

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Tin-Tin Ho retained her title and Tom Jarvis won back the trophy he lost last year as the Under-21 champions were crowned at the PG Mutual National Championships.

Attention now turns to the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles groups, followed by the Mixed Doubles.

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Under-21 Men’s Singles

Tom Jarvis won his third title and got the gold medal back around his neck after missing out 4-3 in last year’s final to Helshan Weerasinghe.

This time, he was up against Luke Savill in his first U21 final, and Jarvis was not in the mood for another marathon as he blitzed past his opponent in four straight, winning it 11-4, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7).

Jarvis admitted: “Last year I lost 4-3 in the final, so that motivated me to come here and put it right this year. I was feeling in a good place today.”

Savill praised his opponent, saying: “I’ve got to say I’m happy to reach the final. It was a good performance from me today but the final was a bit tough – well played Tom.”

Jarvis did not drop a game in his run to the title, beating Naphat Boonyaprapa in the quarter-finals and Shayan Siraj in the semis – though the Leeds youngster had his moments in a scoreline of 11-7, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7.

Savill got through in five against Josh Bennett, having earlier defeated Israel Awolaja in four close games.

In the group stage, Nottingham’s Naphat Boonyaprapa eliminated the top seed in Group 2, Joe Cope, thanks to a superb 3-1 (6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9) victory. Both players had defeated Gaurav Aravind.

Amirul Hussain, the youngest player in the event, had a brilliant start with a 3-0 win over Ethan Walsh in Group 4. He also led 2-1 against the group’s top seed Israel Awolaja, but the older player came back to win 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3) and go through to the knockouts.

In Group 3, Shaquille Webb-Dixon got the better of Zak Cantor – eventually – winning in five after holding a 2-0 lead and also leading 10-8 in the fourth.

Cantor took the first set against James Smith but Smith recovered to win 3-1 to set up a match against Webb-Dixon to decide the group winner. That one went the distance and featured two marathon games before Smith came through 3-2 (12-14, 11-8, 14-16, 11-9, 11-5).

In Group 1, the withdrawal through injury of Sam Wilson meant it was a straight play-off between James Hobson and George Hazell for a place in the knockout rounds and Hobson won it in three (7, 9, 9).

Under-21 Women’s Singles

Tin-Tin Ho defeated Denise Payet in five games to win the title in her last year at this level.

In a furiously fast-paced match, Ho had the edge throughout with her more consistent play able to get the better of Payet. Despite losing the third game, Ho was in total control as Payet made too many unforced errors, winning 4-1 (11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 11-5).

Ho said: “I’m really happy to win it, especially as it’s my last year. Every time I’ve won it, it’s meant a lot. She pushed me a lot, it was a good match.”

Payet was pleased to reach her first final at this level, especially having survived a huge scare in the semi-finals against Jasmin Wong, saving two match points as she eventually triumphed 4-3 (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 13-11, 11-5).

Payet said: “I’m happy because it’s my first time in the final and hopefully next year, without Tin-Tin, I can win it.

“Against Jasmin it was a tight game but I just tried to focus on my tactics and tried not to think about the outcome, just on one points at a time.”

Ho by comparison was largely untroubled in beating Emily Bolton in four straight (8, 6, 5, 5) in her semi-final.

Back in the quarters, Ho lost the first set before coming back to win in five against Mollie Patterson, while Payet overcame Gauri Duhan in four straight, the same scoreline by which Bolton beat Charlotte Bardsley.

Wong was always in charge of her quarter-final win over Megan Gidney after making a fast start, but was also made to work before winning 4-2 (11-4, 11-3, 12-14, 11-4, 8-11, 11-7).

The first round saw a remarkable match as Mollie Patterson defeated Letitia McMullan in the archetypal rollercoaster, eventually winning it 4-3 (11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 14-12, 12-10) after both players had seen match points come and go, Duhan beat Ruby Chan in the other first-round match.

A format change on the eve of the tournament meant group runners-up also went into the knockout stage of the women’s event.

Jasmin Wong got above Mollie Patterson and into first place in Group 2 and in fine style too as she won in three straight (11-5, 11-7, 11-6). Both had beaten Darcie Proud, and in Patterson’s case it was quite a battle as she had to overturn a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 (8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1, 11-8)

Megan Gidney fought back from 2-0 down to Letitia McMullan to win the battle to top Group 4 – the final score was 6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 in the Bolton player’s favour. McMullan went through to the knockouts by virtue of her 3-0 win over Amy Humphreys.

Charlotte Bardsley was extended to a fifth set in her first Group 3 match against Bhavika Mistry, coming from 2-1 down to win 3-2 (11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5). Gauri Duhan also beat Mistry – it was Bardsley who won the deciding match against Duhan 3-1 to top the group.

Emily Bolton duly topped Group 1 and did not drop a game in doing so, seeing off Tiana Dennison and Ruby Chan. Chan overcame the higher-ranked Dennison 3-1 (11-2, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5) to take second place.

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