by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was for the Brazilians, their second consecutive ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final; they finished 2016 by being crowned the winners in Sweden. However, on that occasion it was better news in the final; they beat the French partnership of Antoine Hachard and Stéphane Ouaiche to end proceedings standing proudly on the top step of the podium.
Notably for Hugo Calderano, only 20 years old, it was his third career appearance in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final. In 2012 in partnership with colleague Cazuo Matsumoto, it had been defeat in the final against Korea’s Oh Sangeun and Ryu Seungmin; three years later, once again with Gustavo Tsuboi it was the same verdict in Qatar. The pair experienced defeat at the hands of the combination formed by Portugal’s Marcos Freitas and Croatia’s Andrej Gacina.
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu is becoming very much a doubles expert; left handed he is the perfect foil for a powerful right handed partner.
Notably partnering compatriot Fan Zhendong, he was a silver medallist in the Men’s Doubles event at the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou.However, it was his first ever ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title.
Zhou Yu becomes the 30th Chinese player to win an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title. It was his third final. In addition to losing with Yan An in the final in Russia; he was beaten in the final in Poland in 2012 when partnering Wang Hao; they were beaten by Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Koki Niwa.
Conversely for Fang Bo, it was his third, both previous successes being in partnership with Xu Xin. In Russia in 2012, notably the pair beat Yan An and Zhou Yu to strike gold; three year later in Sweden, the pair claimed the top prize at the expense of Fan Zhendong and Zhang Jike.
It is the 120th time that a Chinese pair has won an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title.