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WS and MS Finals- Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open

Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open

Sunday 27th May


No birthday present for Chen Xingtong

A 21st birthday but for Chen Xingtong, the no.6 seed but there were no presents from colleague, Wang Manyu in the final of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open on Sunday 27th May.

The no.3 seed, Wang Manyu emerged successful in five games (12-10, 11-8, 3-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-9).

Wang Manyu captured the opening two games after in the first Chen Xingtong had saved two game points; the third was totally different. Chen Xingtong could do nothing wrong, for Wang Manyu it was the totally reverse scenario.

Chen Xingtong established a 9-1 lead before surrendering just two further points to seal the game.

A recovery in the offing, excelling over the table, it was back to the pattern of the opening two games; Wang Manyu controlled the play to establish a three games to one lead-.

The fourth game similar to the first two, the start of the fifth was similar to third; Chen Xingtong raced into a 6-1 lead, Wang Manyu won the next two points, Chen Xingtong called “Time Out”. The break work, she lost just one more point to reduce the match arrears to one game.

A good start and Chen Xingtong had accelerated; in the sixth game that essential good start did not happen. Wang Manyu established a 6-3 lead; Chen Xingtong reduced the deficit to one point at 7-6, Wang Manyu elected for “Time Out”. Chen Xingtong won the next two point, the rallies fast and furious, any good fortune on the side of Wang Manyu, at 10-8, she held two match points; the first was saved not the second, a ripping backhand secured victory.

Success for Wang Manyu meant that in what is now six ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles finals, she has won three times. Last year she won in Austria whilst having been the runner up in Austria and Qatar on both occasions beaten by colleague, Chen Meng in the final. Likewise this year, once again she had to settle for runners up spot in Qatar, losing to Liu Shiwen, having earlier in the year won in Hungary.

Notably it was the fourth occasion the pair had met on the ITTF World Tour; previously they had confronted each other last year in Australia and in Germany whilst earlier this year they had faced in each other in Hungary. On all three occasions Wang Manyu had prevailed, in Hong Kong she made it four.


Sunday 27th May


Kazuhiro Yoshimura wins in Hong Kong

The first step was to gain a place in the main draw, the last step was to climb to the top rung of the ladder; at the SeamasterHang Seng Hong Kong Open on Sunday 27th May Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura completed both goals.

He beat fellow qualifier Korea’s Cho Seungmin in four games (11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3. 11-7) to emerge the somewhat surprise champion and record a milestone win

Very much new territory for both players; notably last year Kazuhiro Yoshimura had been the runner up at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open when beaten by India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, whilst  also Cho Seungmin had reached the semi-final round at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Australian Open.

Thus a good start to settle the nerves was no doubt essential, the better start was made by Kazuhiro Yoshimura but Cho Seungmin is a resolute character, he responded to secure the second my the same margin as he had lost the first.

Matters level, Kazuhiro Yoshimura responded to win the third game in a very similar manner to that of the first, Cho Seungmin saving two game points before having to concede defeat.

A three point lead established; that player progressed to succeed; that situation was even more emphatically underlined in the fourth game, at 3-all it was parity, the stage at which Kazuhiro Yoshimura went from strength to strength as Cho Seungmin became hesitant and Kazhuhiro Yoshimura gained in confidence. He did not surrender a further point; eight in a row gave him a three games to one lead.

In the fourth game once again Kazuhiro Yoshikura established the valuable three point lead. He led 5-2, Lee Chulseung, the Korean coach on duty called “Time Out”. Kazuhiro Yoshimura won the next point but the next four went to Cho Seungmin. Maintain his focus, no hint of panic, Kazuhiro Yoshimura halted the sequence, at 10-6 he held four match points. Cho Seungmin won the next point but no more; the title belonged to Japan.

Thus family pride wa restored, at the quarter-final stage of proceedings, one day earlier Cho Seungmin hsad beaten, elder brother Mahara Yoshimura (11-7, 11-7, 11-1, 9-11, 10-12, 6-11, 11-5) on what proved a most successful venture for the family.

The title for Kazuhiro and a memorable win for elder brother; in the opening round, Maharu Yoshimura had beaten China’s Zhang Jike (11-9, 8-11, 13-11, 13-15, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9). Did elder brother not make things possible for younger brother?

Meanwhile for Cho Seungmin it was déjà vu, four days earlier he had been the runner up in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, losing to Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju.

Articles by Ian Marshall