by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paikov overcame Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Sun Chia-Hung (11-5, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8), after Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova had experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Miyu Kato and Misaki Morizono (11-8, 11-5, 12-10).
Second time, second success
It was for Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paikov the second time that they had appeared in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final and the second time they had emerged successful.
In 2013 on home they emerged successful in Ekaterinburg, accounting for Japan’s Kazuhiro Chan and Kenji Matsudaira at the final hurdle.
Furthermore the win in Panagyurishte means that they become the only all-Russian pair to have won more than one ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles titles.
Only three such partnerships have emerged successful; the others being Andrey Bukin and Vasilij Filatov alongside Alexei Smirnov and Aleksander Shibaev.
Andrey Bukin and Vasilij Filatov won in Lagos in 2015 beating Portugal’s Diogo Carvalho and Diogo Chen in the final; Alexei Smirnov and Aleksander Shibaev succeeded five years earlier in 2010 when, at the final hurdle, they overcame Germany’s Patrick Baum and Bastian Steger.
Meanwhile, for Miyu Kato and Misaki Morizono it was their first ever success in an ITTF World Women’s Doubles event, either together or apart.
Overall, it was 30th occasion that an all-Japanese pairing has won an ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles event; Miyu Kato and Misaki Morizono becoming the 18th such pair to achieve the feat.
However, they have some distance to go to catch the all-time most successful Japanese partnership; between January 2006 and December 2014, Hiroko Fujii and Misako Wakamiya won five times.
Degree of consolation
Defeat for Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova but they can still count themselves the most successful of all Women’s Doubles pairings on the ITTF World Tour.
Somewhat surprisingly no all-Russian partnership had won an ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles title until this year. Irina Ermakova and Olga Kulikova became the first when they emerged successful in May in Lagos, beating the combination of Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou and Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike in the final.
Later in Slovenia
Later in Slovenia, Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova emerged successful overcoming Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun at the final hurdle.
In Panagyurishte, they were not able to repeat the feat, Miyu Kato and Misaki Morizono reigned supreme.