Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Pyongyang Open
Sunday 28th July
Kim Song I wins for record fourth time
Never previously achieved at an open international tournament since the ITTF World Tour was inaugurated in 1996, on Sunday 28th July, Kim Song I won the women’s singles event at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Pyongyang Open; it meant an unprecedented four in a row.
Undoubtedly the world’s best female defensive player, Kim Song I struck gold in 2016 when the tournament was a member on the ITTF World Tour, she repeated the success in the ensuing years. Overall, it was a fifth women’s singles title at an open international tournament for Kim Song I; in 2012 she won on the ITTF World Tour in Sweden.
In Pyongyang, after accounting for Kim Jin Hyang, the no.7 seed (11-5, 10-12, 11-3, 8-11, 11-2, 12-10) in all DPR Korean semi-finals, Kim Song Il secured the title at the final expense of Pyon Song Gong, the no.6 seed (14-12, 13-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9). Notably, winner of the under 21 women’s singles title the previous day, in the penultimate round Pyon Song Gyong had caused an upset. She accounted for Kim Nam Hae, the no.3 seed (20-18, 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5).
The win recorded by Kim Song I came prior to success in the men’s singles event for colleague An Ji Song. The no.2 seed, after ending the hopes of Iran’s Amir Hodaei Hossein (11-5, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10), he secured the title at the expense of colleague Kim Song Il (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4). Runners up spot for Kim Song Il but it nearly did not happen. At the semi-final stage, he was stretched to the very limit by compatriot Ham Yu Song (11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4).
Significantly, it was the first time either An Ji Song or Kim Song Il had appeared in a men’s singles final at an open international tournament.
Meanwhile, an all DPR Korea final witnessed success for Ham Yu Song and Ri Kwang Myong in the men’s doubles event; they secured the title at the final expense of An Ji Song and Ro Hyon Song (17-15, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11). The success came after Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae had struck women’s doubles gold; in the final they beat the combination of Norway’s Ilka Duval and Ri Hyon Sim (11-9, 11-7, 11-9).
Defeat for Ilka Duval but a milestone; she became the first player from Norway ever to reach a final in any event at an ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series tournament.
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: ITTF