SEAMASTER 2019 ITTF CHALLENGE THAILAND OPEN
Sunday 26th May
Hitomi Sato regains title
Winner two years earlier, Hitomi Sato regained her women’s singles title; on Sunday 26th May she emerged successful in Bangkok at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open, the 21 year old justified her top seeded position but it was mighty hard work.
Photo Credit:ITTF/Panichar Junkana
In an event dominated by Japan, after having accounted for Mitsuho Kimura in four straight games (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), she needed the full seven games at the semi-final stage to oust doubles partner Honoka Hashimoto, the no.3 seed (11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 2-11, 10-12, 11-4) and the same in the final when facing Saki Shibata, the no.2 seed (5-11, 11-5, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-2).
In the opposite half of the draw Saki Shibata had beaten Ayami Narumoto (11-7, 5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-9).
Silver for Saki Shibata; in the women’s doubles event it was gold. Partnering Satsuki Odo, the no.2 seeds, at the final hurdle they overcame colleagues and qualifiers, Ayane Morita and Yuka Umemura to reserve the top step of the podium (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 15-13).
Notably at the semi-final stage Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata had beaten the host nation’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.3 seeds and defending champions (5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 15-13); in the same round Ayana Morita and Yuka Umemura had ousted Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the top seeds (13-11, 6-11, 11-2, 12-10).
A place on the podium for Yuka Umemura, one day earlier it had been one place higher; the no.8 seed, she had won the under 21 women’s singles event beating 14 year old Prithika Pavade of France in the final (11-6, 8-11, 12-14, 11-3). Success for Yuka Umemura, in the under 21 men’s singles event it was success for Chinese Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yu; a qualifier, at the final hurdle he beat Japan’s Masaki Takami, the no.7 seed (11-9, 11-4, 14-12).
Meanwhile, in the men’s singles and men’s doubles events it was gold for Germany’s Ruwen Filus, the no.3 seed. In the former he beat Korea Republic qualifier, Seo Hyundeok in the final (11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8), after at the semi-final stage having ousted Frenchman, Andrea Landrieu, the no.10 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 10-12, 11-8).
Later in the day, in the latter he partnered Steffen Mengel to success; the no.5 seeds, they beat Chinese Taipei's Feng Yu-Hsin and Wang Tai-Wei, the no.8 seeds, (11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5) to secure the title.
By Ian Marshall, Editor
Photo Credit: ITTF