by Simon Daish
Living Up to Expectations
Muramatsu was seeded first heading into the Men’s final, and if the pressure wasn’t already high enough, his opponent would be fellow Japanese player Mizuki Oikawa.
Oikawa had only dropped one game in the Under 21 category before today, and having won his semi-final clash in straight games against Park Chan-Hyeok (Korea Republic), Oikawa was a deserved finalist.
The final itself arguably failed to deliver the level of drama that some spectators may have been hoping for, as Muramatsu picked up the win by taking all three games on offer.
All of the games featured close scorelines, but there was only ever one winner in the final and that was Yuto Muramatsu (11-8, 11-8, 11-9).
“I am very happy,” said Muramatsu. “Being a number one seed I was a little bit nervous and felt some pressure but in the final I had a good feeling.” He added, “I am really satisfied I made it to be the champion.”
Olomouc has held a happy memory for Muramatsu in the past, as the then 16-year-old Japanese competitor registered a semi-finals finish in the Men’s Singles Senior competition. Now four years’ later, Muramatsu will leave the Czech Republic with silverware in the Under 21 tournament and there is still a possibility that he could achieve the same feat in the Senior event.
Maiden Under 21 Title for Yoon
The 2016 Czech Open has presented Yoon Hyobin (Korea Republic) with her first World Tour Under 21 title, after the 18-year-old saw off the Bulgaria Open Under 21 champion Saki Shibata (Japan) in the final.
Yoon last held an ITTF World Rankings position back in May, and so she entered her encounter against Shibata (10th seed) unseeded, and on paper the underdog. However, Yoon proved that she was not only able to match Shibata, but also surpass her opponent in the tie (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-1).
“It is the first time I won the Under 21 (title) at such a tournament so I am very happy and satisfied with my game. I had two very difficult matches in the tournament – against Belarusian Alina Arlouskaya, and then against Yui Hamamoto (Japan) who is in top fifty in the world rankings. It was difficult but I made it.” – Yoon Hyobin (Korea Republic).
Winning the trophy was Yoon’s final contribution to the 2016 Czech Open, but the Korean can now move into her next tournament as a World Tour title holder.
Saturday 3rd September: Under 21 Men’s Singles – Main Draw
Saturday 3rd September: Under 21 Women’s Singles – Main Draw