by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Win or lose, Patrick Franziska has two chances of striking gold on the concluding day in Incheon; he is the busiest player on duty.
Additionally, he appears in the Men’s Doubles final in harness with Denmark’s Jonathan Groth; the no.3 seeds, they meet the host nation’s Jang Woojin and Jeong Sangeun.
Notably in 2016, on the ITTF World Tour Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth won in both Croatia and Austria; they are now an established partnership. Conversely, it is the first time as a pairing that Jang Woojin and Jeong Sangeun have reached an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final; their one advantage in the Namdong Gymnasium being that they can rely on home support.
Meanwhile, in both the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles finals, Japan is very much in evidence.
In the former, Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, confronts Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the top seed; in the latter Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the no.3 seeds, face the German partnership of Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.5 seeds.
Seeding suggests the odds slightly favour Feng Tianwei but on the two most recent occasions, when the pair has met on the international scene, the verdict has always gone in favour of Kasumi Ishikawa. She emerged successful at the 2014 Asian Games, notably staged in Incheon and more recently in the vital bronze medal Women’s Team engagement at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Likewise, it is somewhat similar situation in the Women’s Doubles final; as a partnership Hina Hayata and Mima Ito have never progressed to the title decider at an ITTF World Tour tournament. Conversely, Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja have three such titles to their credit. In 2015 they won on home soil in Bremen and also in Austria.
Play starts at 2.00pm (local time) with the Men’s Doubles final.