by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Lam Siu Hang won the Men’s Singles title, some ten minutes earlier; Doo Hoi Kem was anointed the Women’s Singles champion.
The part of the world destined to win the Under 21 Women’s Singles title was known before the final commenced. Doo Hoi Kem, the top seed, faced colleague, Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.6 seed; a four games result was the outcome (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4).
“Soo Wai Yam was not at her best in the final, her shoulder is injured. I didn’t think about winning or losing just playing the points and enjoying myself”, Doo Hoi Kem
A most controlled performance won the day for Doo Hoi Kem against a player who was in form, less than one hour earlier; she had caused a major upset in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament. Listed at no.55 on the current Women’s World Rankings, she had beaten Hungary’s Georgina Pota, named at no.30, to secure top place in the group (8-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7).
“Last week in India I played Georgina and lost four-one; today I had no pressure, I just fought. My right shoulder is a little stiff, it hurts just a little, so I tried to keep the ball on the table and force Georgina to make errors”, Minnie Soo Wai Yam
Meanwhile for Lam Siu Hang the margin of victory was even more impressive; the no.12 seed, he overcame Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the no.8 seed, in three straight game to arrest the title (11-3, 11-5, 11-9).
It was for both winners a question of proving a point; proving they could climb the next step.
Lam Siu Hang was appearing in his third ITTF World Tour Under 21 Men’s Singles final; the previous week in India he had been beaten in the gold medal contest by Japan’s Asuka Sakai. Last year in Poland he had reached the title deciding match losing to the host nation’s Jakub Dyjas.
“I remembered being the runner up, I did not want to lose in the final once again. I was very focused, I tried not to think about winning or losing, just thinking about how to win each point. I followed the strategy, Tomislav has a very good backhand; when I played towards his backhand I made sure I played strongly but continually I directed my attacking play towards his forehand”, Lam Siu Hang
Somewhat similarly, Doo Hoi Kem had experienced defeat in Under 21 Women’s Singles finals. In 2015 in Kuwait, she had won beating Singapore’s Zeng Jian but later in the year in China, it had been defeat in the final when facing Japan’s Hitomi Sato. Likewise, in 2016 she had lost in the crucial contest in China and also in Austria; in the former she was beaten by Zeng Jian, in the latter she suffered at the hands of Sakura Mori.
One step higher than the previous week for Lam Siu Hang; for Minnie Soo Wai Yam it was the same outcome in her second career ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles final; in India she had been beaten by Japan’s Sakura Mori.
Meanwhile, for Tomislav Pucar, it was his second runners up spot in three ITTF World Tour Under 21 Men’s Singles finals.
In 2015 in Bulgaria, he had experienced defeat in the gold medal contest at the hands of Korea’s Kim Donghyun; last year on home soil in Zagreb, he secured the top step of the podium beating Poland’s Jakub Dyjas in the final.
In Doha for Tomislav Pucar it was Bulgaria revisited; Hong Kong celebrated.