SEAMASTER 2019 ITTF WORLD TOUR SERBIA OPEN
Sunday 5th May
Third title for Hina Hayata
Winner earlier in the year in Portugal and Oman, Japan’s Hina Hayata added to her list of titles on Sunday 19th May in Belgrade, by reserving the top step of the podium in the women’s singles event at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open.
After recording a quarter-final success against Hungary’s Szandra Pergel (6-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-1, 11-3), she accounted for Russia’s PolonaMikhailova (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8) and Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam (11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9) to secure the title.
The success recorded by Hina Hayata means she moves one step nearer the record set in 2018 by Saki Shibata when she won four ITTF Challenge Series tournaments; she succeeded in Belgium, Belarus, Croatia and Spain.
Defeat for Minnie Soo Wai Yam, who in the later rounds had accounted for Italy’s Li Xiang (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-6) and Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova (11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8) but it was the most successful tournament of her career on either the ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour. It was the first time she had reached such a final and later in the day she partnered Ng Wing Nam to women’s doubles gold, the pairing accounting for Szandra Pergel and Hungarian colleague Dora Madarasz (12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7) in the final.
Notably, it was the second career success for the Hong Kong pair at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament; last year they had won in Slovenia.
A successful tournament for Minnie Soo Wai Yam and Ng Wing Nam; it was one of mixed fortunes for colleague Mak Tze Wing. She suffered an opening round women’s singles exit beaten by Barbora Balazova (11-8, 11-8, 14-12, 11-9), before later in the tournament securing the silver medal in the under 21 women’s singles event.
After ousting Hungary’s Leonie Hartbrich at the semi-final stage (11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7), she was beaten by the defensive skills of Russia’s Maria Malanina (11-8, 11-7, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles event, very much players to attract the attention were Japan’s Shogo Tahara and Yuta Tanaka, both qualifiers, both reached the quarter-final stage; Shogo Taharalosing to the champion elect, England’s Paul Drinkhall, Yuta Tanaka suffering at the hands of Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador (11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Similarly in the under 21 men’s singles event Shogo Tahara impressed; likewise he reached the quarter-finals and likewise he lost to the eventual winner. He was beaten by Frenchman Le de Nodrest (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9).
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF