by Simon Daish
Both Lin Gaoyuan and Yan An are known to thrive on fast-paced action and spectators in Linz witnessed an incredible attacking display in the final as both contestants were involved in a fierce battle for the trophy.
Deuce was required in the first end of the final with neither player managing to secure the game win after the opening 20 points, but Lin Gaoyuan eventually came out on top by a 12-10 scoreline to gain the early momentum. Lin Gaoyuan’s lead was then extended to a two games advantage following a good display in the second game from the qualifier.
Yan An then had a great opportunity to pull himself back into the final holding two game points in the third game, but the no.7 seed wasn’t able to finish the job and ultimately paid the price for it as Lin Gaoyuan picked up the next four points in a row to move to within a game win from the title.
With the scores level at nine points apiece in the fourth game Yan An showed great sportsmanship by acknowledging that the ball had hit his shirt and handing the point to Lin Gaoyuan. Despite losing out on that point, however, Yan An recovered to claim the win in deuce to put a game on the scoreboard.
Another brave effort followed from Yan An in the following game as he continued with his aggressive approach to the match. Success was not to be for the seventh seeded competitor, however, as Lin Gaoyuan emerged victorious by a four point margin to prevail in the Men’s Singles contest (12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 10-12, 11-7).
“I’m very happy to be able win my first World Tour title. I’m very satisfied with my performance during this period of time, claiming another title after the Asian Cup with such a tight schedule. I was looking forward to making my first appearance at the World Tour final, but nervous at the same time, especially playing against Yan An, he has won World Tour titles in the past. I think I played well on court in the final. I have played in so many World Tour events, and now finally with a title, it’s a dream come true for me”, Lin Gaoyuan.
Victory means that Lin Gaoyuan has won all five of his main draw encounters against seeded opposition and continues his recent rich vein of form having triumphed at the 2017 ATTU-ITTF Asian Cup.
Yan An proved unsuccessful in his title challenge in Linz, but still holds the head-to-head ITTF World Tour trophy advantage over Lin Gaoyuan with two Men’s Singles gold medals to his name.