• Kyodo


Twelve-year-old table tennis phenom Tomokazu Harimoto became the youngest player to progress from the qualifying stage of an ITTF world tour event at the Polish Open in Warsaw on Thursday, and now he faces a test like no other as world No. 1 Ma Long awaits him in his first game in the main draw.

Harimoto, the world’s 286th ranked player, overcame Croatia’s Tan Ruiwu and Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky in qualifying. The win over Tan was an achievement in itself, given the Croat’s vast experience on tour and his more than 200 ranking-place advantage over the Japanese youngster.

“I won my group here, I’m happy because I won against Tan Ruiwu. If I attacked against him, everything was good but I had problem when I had to defend,” Harimoto told the ITTF website.

Earlier this year, Harimoto announced his arrival on the world scene as an 11-year-old by reaching the final of the 2015 Safir International event in Sweden.

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