Jeon Jihee, the Under 21 Women's Singles champion
Photo By: Frantisek Zalewsky
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Czech Open
Japanís Asuka Sakai and Koreaís Jeon Jihee won the respective Under 21 Menís and Under 21 Womenís Singles titles at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc on Saturday 1st September.
At the final hurdle, Asuka Saki overcame colleague Yuto Muramatsu (11-9, 11-5, 13-11, 11-8); whilst Jeon Jihee defeated Misaki Morizono, also from Japan to secure gold (11-3, 11-6, 12-10, 6-11, 3-11).
The success recorded by Jeon Jihee was no great surprise; she was the no.2 seed. However, the fact that Asuka Sakai clinched the male title was a surprise.
He was not seeded and had been required to compete in the qualification group stage.
Route to Final
A place in the main draw secured and safely through to the quarter-finals, he beat Swedenís Kristian Karlsson, the no.2 seed (13-11, 8-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-7, 12-10), before overcoming colleague Yuto Higashi in the semi-finals (11-7, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8) to book his place in the final.
In the final he faced top seed, Yuto Muramatsu and clearly he was accustomed to his colleagueís defensive play; the straight games success was most impressive.
At the quarter-final stage Yuto Muramatsu had beaten the Czech Republicís Pavel Sirucek, the no.6 seed (11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8), before overcoming Polandís Robert Floras in the penultimate round (11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8).
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Under 21 Womenís Singles event, Jeon Jihee ended the hopes of Germanyís Petrissa Solja, the no.6 seed, in the quarter-finals (11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8), before booking her place in the final by overcoming compatriot, Kim Minhee, a qualifier (11-6, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7, 11-5).
A place in the final booked as predicted but in the counterpart half of the draw; the name of the finalist was somewhat unexpected.
Misaki Morizono, the no.3 seed, overcame Hungaryís Dora Madarasz, a qualifier by the narrowest of margins (11-2, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 6-11, 9-11, 13-11) in the quarter-finals as predicted but then caused an upset in the penultimate round by beating Koreaís Yang Haeun, the no.1 seed (6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9).
The winners of the Under 21 Menís and Womenís Singles events decided; the finalists in the Menís Doubles were also determined on the evening of the penultimate day.
Alas it was bad news for the host nation.
Host Nation Sadness
Petr Korbel and Dmitrij Prokopcov, the no.8 seeds, suffered defeat at the hands of Swedenís Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2, 11-5); in the final they meet Koreaís Lee Sangsu and Seo Hyundeok, the no.4 seeds.
At the semi-final stage, they accounted for Brazilís Cazuo Matsumoto and Thiago Monteiro, the no.6 seeds (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5).