2019 ITTF World Tour Czech Open
Sunday 25th August
Lin Yun-Ju and Chen Xingtong win in Olomouc
Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and China’s Chen Xingtong won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc on Sunday 25th August.
Notably, for Lin Yun-Ju it was his first such career title, for Chen Xingtong her fourth and second in succession; the previous week she had won in Bulgaria, having in 2017 succeeded in Hungary and Stockholm.
On the concluding day of play, Lin Yun-Ju ended German hopes. The no.9 seed, at the semi-final stage he beat Timo Boll, the no.3 seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8), prior to accounting for Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-5, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9) to seal the title. In the corresponding penultimate round contest, Dimitrij Ovtcharov had overcome Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.2 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 13-11, 6-11, 11-9).
Success for Lin Yun-Ju but he almost departed proceedings in the opening round; he was extended the full seven games distance by colleague Chen Chien-An, only gaining success by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-8, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9). A close call against Chen Chien-An, rather more comfortably he overcame Portugal’s Marcos Freitas (11-4, 11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8), before reserving his last four berth courtesy of success in opposition to surprise quarter-finalist, Japan’s Yuki Hirano (11-1, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7).
Earlier, Yuki Hirano had accounted for Romania’s Cristian Pletea (11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4), the shock first round winner in opposition to Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (3-11, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7) the top seed and winner the previous week in Bulgaria.
No repeat success for Tomokazu Harimoto; it was a different scenario for Chen Xingtong, the no.11 seed. After recording a second round success against Japan’s Mima Ito (12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-1, 11-6), she accounted for Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.10 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-8), to secure a semi-final place. The good form continued. She ousted and colleague, Feng Yalan (11-4, 11-3, 15-13, 7-11, 11-9) to progress to the final where a further Japanese adversary awaited. She met Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed, who at the semi-final stage had ousted compatriot Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed (11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-6).
A fine effort from Miu Hirano, in the final it was a spirited effort; she recovered from a three games to nil deficit to force a seventh game, in the decider she led 6-4 but found Chen Xingtong resolute and consistent, no mistakes the title was secured (11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 12-14, 8-11, 11-8).
Victory in Bulgaria, victory in the Czech Republic; it was the same for China’s Gu Yuting and Mu Zi in the women’s doubles event. Once again they were not seeded, once again they beat Miu Hirano and Japanese colleague, Saka Shibata, the no.3 seeds (9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6) in the final.
The top prize once again for Gu Yuting and Mu Zi; for Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong it was a career first. He partnered Shin Yubin to mixed doubles gold before achieving the same feat in the men’s doubles when partnering Lee Sangsu.
Not seeded, in the mixed doubles final, Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin beat Jun Mizutani and Japanese colleague Mima Ito, the no.9 seeds (6-11, 15-13, 12-10, 16-18, 12-10), the winners the previous week in Bulgaria; in the men’s doubles title decider, Cho Daeseong and Lee Sangsu, the no.5 seeds, ousted Lin Yin-Jun and Chinese Taipei teammate, Lia Cheng-Ting (11-4, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6).
Attention now turns to Ulanbaator for the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships which start on Monday 2nd September and then to Yogyakarta, the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships commencing on Sunday 15th September.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: Kabon Lukas