by Simon Daish
Kenta Matsudaira has always been regarded as a top player in the world of Table Tennis, but the only ITTF World Tour gold medals to his name (excluding Under 21 event) heading into the 2016 Austrian Open were Men’s Doubles trophies won at the 2010 Japan and Hungarian Opens and the 2012 Polish Open each achieved with Doubles partner Koki Niwa.
Now Matsudaira can add his name to the list of World Tour Men’s Singles champions after he skillfully saw off Hugo Calderano, but the Japanese contestant was made to fight at his best for the title as his opponent from Brazil was looking for his second gold medal in the category having won the 2013 Brazil Open Men’s Singles title.
The Austrian Open final didn’t see Matsudaira make the start that he would have liked, instead it was Calderano who took game one and even though Matsudaira was able to draw the tie level it didn’t take Calderano long to reclaim his lead with a convincing win in game three.
There are a maximum of seven games per match on offer in the World Tour Men’s Singles tournaments and with Calderano holding two games to his name in the final he was already halfway to the victory, however, come the conclusion of the duel it would be Matsudaira who would go on to triumph.
First item to be ticked off the agenda for Matsudaira was to bring the scores level with his capture of the fourth end, then the No.11 seed would go on to gain the lead in games for the first time in the encounter by taking the fifth end to move to within a game win from the title.
Then the final looked to be moving into a decider when the ninth seed Calderano managed to sneak 7-10 in front in game six, but five points in a row for Matsudaira saw him lay his hands on the Men’s Singles gold for the first time (6-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10).
Sunday 13th November: Men’s Singles – Main Draw