by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
An intriguing final, name the favourites and even though one pair occupied the highest seeded position of all and the rivals were qualifiers, there was little to choose, four players of a very similar level were on duty.
The opening game in Japanese eyes was no doubt highway robbery; the Swedes were never ahead until the most important moment of all. They levelled at 9-all; then won the next two points to seize an early advantage.
Immediately Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, like injured tigers, responded; speed is their forte, that facet counted in the second game as they levelled matters.
Success gave an injection of confidence; the quicker to attack, the quicker to seize the opportunity, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima won the first five points of the third game. They were in the fast lane; in no time to draw breath, a one-nil deficit had been turned to a two-one advantage. If any pair plays faster than Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, they would burn holes their shoes.
A fast start in each previous game, it was the same in the fourth; they went ahead 4-3; understandably the Swedes called “Time Out”. The quest was to find a way to halt the Shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train.
Credit to the Swedes, they caused the Japanese train to slow down, they went ahead 7-6 but at 10-9 it was match point to Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima; at the first attempt the chance was seized.
“We lost the first game because they used good tactics; the played short to my backhand and I made mistakes. At 9-9 I made a really bad error from my backhand. After we lost the first game we focused on the basics, we did not change anything just do everything well. Most important was that we did’t become too excited, important we kept calm and focused”, Masataka Morizono
Success for Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima meant that they maintained their perfect record of once reaching an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final, they always win.
They have now appeared in six title deciding contests and they have won all six.
Meanwhile, for Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson it was their third appearance in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final. In Poland in 2015 they emerged successful but as today in Doha, in 2012 in the Czech Republic they had to settle for the second step of the medal podium.
It is the 17th time that Japan has secured the top step of an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles podium.