SEAMASTER 2019 ITTF CHALLENGE PLUS OMAN OPEN
Sunday 24th March
Lin Yun-Ju and Hina Hayata win in Muscat
Names to note for the immediate future and beyond, both left handers, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Japan’s Hina Hayata emerged the most successful players at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Oman Open in Muscat on Sunday 24th March.
Lin Yun-Ju won the men’s singles title after partnering colleague Liao Cheng-Ting to men’s doubles success; similarly, Hina Hayata clinched women’s singles gold having joined forces with Satsuki Odo to emerge the women’s doubles gold medallist.
Tense men’s singles semi-finals were the order of the day. Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the top seed, beat India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-1); Lin Yun-Ju, the no.3 seed, overcame Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the no.20 seed (11-4, 11-7, 13-15, 8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8).
Later, at the final hurdle Lin Yun-Ju beat Mattias Falck, the top seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8) to win his first men’s singles title on either the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament.
Similarly, the women’s singles semi-finals were hard fought. Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the top seed, eventually overcame the defensive skills of Japan’s Hitomi Sato, the no.3 seed (11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 13-15, 11-8), Hina Hayata, the no.9 seed, upset the order of merit to beat colleague, Miu Hirano, the no.2 seed (11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8).
A place in the final Hina Hayata beat Cheng I-Ching (11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8). Thus she repeated the feat of one month earlier in Portugal and regained the title won in 2017 when the tournament was staged in Almeria.
Earlier in the day, Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju, the top seeds, had beaten Russian qualifiers, Denis Ivonin and Vladimir Sidorenko to clinch men’s doubles gold (11-8, 11-3, 11-7) and thus won their second major international title. Last year in November they emerged successful at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
A second title for Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju, for Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata, it was a third. The no.2 seeds, they beat Japanese colleagues, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the top seeds, to win women’s doubles gold (14-12, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6). Thus they collected their third ITTF Challenge Series title as a partnership; last year they also won in Belarus and in Belgium.
Furthermore, the previous day Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, the top seeds, had won the mixed doubles title beating qualifiers Russia's Vladimir Sidorenko and Mariia Tailakova (7-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8) to reserve the top step of the podium
Silver for Vladimir Sidorenko; in the under 21 men’s singles event it was gold. He beat Russian colleague Artur Abusev in the final (6-11, 11-3, 11-3, 11-7) to secure his first such title
Satsuki Odo won the under 21 women's singles title; in the final she beat India's Archana Girish Kamath in three straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-6).