29 Aug 2017

Speed counted, in early January 2014, Japan’s Masataka Morizono was simply too fast for his opponents as he stormed to victory in the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals in Guatemala City; over three years later, on Tuesday 29th August, the same qualities enabled the now 22 year to once again reserve the top step of the medal podium.

In an impressive manner he won the Men’s Singles title at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei City and thus brought proceedings in the eight day tournament to a conclusion.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews by Hung Yen Lin)

At the semi-final stage, the left hander who with Yuya Oshima has been the Men’s Doubles runner up earlier in the year at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships, beat Frenchman Alexandre Robinot (11-6, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-2), prior to accounting for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An to seal the title (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8).

In the counterpart semi-final, Chen Chien-An had beaten DPR Korea’s Pak Sin Hyok (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8).

“For my career, as to be selected as an Olympian and World Championships player, the results of singles matches are much more important than double matches, so I have been putting more emphasis recently single matches.” Masataka Morizono

Defeats for Alexandre Robinot and Pak Sin Hyok at the semi-final stage but both leave with bronze medals.

“A semi-final finish is okay; not the best I can do but not the worst. I lost to Masataka who has a very good world ranking, much better than me. It was difficult to play against him. I had some chances but in the end he was better than me today. In the third game I didn’t make easy mistakes which I did in the other games, so this made a difference. I improved after the third game. He’s really fast, he’s small but he moves really, really fast. He’s amazing with the forehand, he moves so quickly, I was not able to keep up with him.” Alexandre Robinot

A satisfied Alexandre Robinot who had every reason to be satisfied, at the quarter-final stage he had beaten Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting (11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-4), prior to one round earlier having accounted for Yuya Oshima (11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 17-15).

“The system was different because they are both right handed players, so this maybe was better for me. It fits better to my game; I was able to play backhand to backhand many times and quite well. So I think this was the difference; also in receiving service I think I was also better against these two players than against Morizono today. ” Alexandre Robinot

A bronze medal was a worthy finish for Alexandre Robinot and exceeded expectations.

“I really didn’t think that I could win the bronze medal. I was not feeling that well when I came here. My game was not in the best shape but somehow in the competition I kept improving day by day. In the end I played a very good tournament so I’m happy.” Alexandre Robinot

Both Alexandre Robinot and his conqueror depart Taipei City in an upbeat mood; one wonders will we see one or both Tokyo in 2020? There is time.

“It’s going to be tough to be selected for the Olympic Games because there are many strong players in Japan. Now I’m about the eighth best but in 2020 I will be 25 years old; a prime time for a player. It will take one and a half years for the selection. I will do my best to be selected.” Masataka Morizono

The Olympic Games is the biggest multi-sport spectacular on planet earth; the Summer Universiade is regarded by many as the second biggest; Masataka Morizono can take confidence from his efforts in Taipei City. He concluded matters as one of the most successful athletes on duty.

Additional to the Men’s Singles title, he won Men’s Doubles gold in partnership with Yuya Oshima and Men’s Team bronze alongside Yuya Oshima and Masaki Yoshida.

2017 Summer Universiade: Table Tennis Events – Tuesday 22nd to Tuesday 29th August

2017 Summer Universiade Masataka Morizono Chen Chien-An Alexandre Robinot Pak Sin Hyok