by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Meanwhile for Japan the success of the past two years ago could not be repeated. In Bangkok, Asuka Machi beat Korea’s Jang Woojin to claim the top prize; last year in Lisbon Yuya Oshima struck gold, he accounted for Denmark’s Zhai Yujia at the final hurdle.
Notably, the success recorded by Asuka Machi was the very first for Japan in the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at a Grand Finals; however, despite the defeat in Doha Japan still heads the list in terms of titles.
“I’m disappointed to lose, last night I did not sleep; today I was not good both physically and mentally”, Yuto Muramatsu
Korea Republic has also two wins; Cho Eonrae won in 2007 in Beijing beating Andrej Gacina in the final, four years later in London Kim Minseok struck gold. He won the title at the final expense of Singapore’s Chen Feng.
Additionally, Cho Eonrae was the runner up in Fuzhou in 2005, the first time the event was staged; he was beaten by Singapore’s Yang Zi in the final. Add the silver medal gained by Jang Woojin in 2014, it means Korea Republic has provided four finalists; they are the most successful nation of all in the event.
“I’m usually very weak against defenders, so I’m really surprised that I won today. This is the first time I ever won against a defender ranked top 50 in the world, so it still feels unreal to me. It’s unbelievable! I think Muramatsu is not in his best form for the final match, maybe because he played in the Men’s Singles event as well, so he’s probably tired”, Liao Cheng-Ting
In Doha it was the first ever time that Yuto Muramatsu and Liao Cheng-Ting had met on the international scene.