by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The top step of the podium and one step higher for Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching than earlier this year at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open; in New Delhi, they had been beaten in the final by the combination of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota.
Likewise, at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour German Open in Bremen, they had experienced defeat in the title deciding contest when opposing the host nation’s Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja.
Two defeats but if we add today’s Challenge Series win to the equation it is two wins. Last year at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc, the duo beat Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun to seal the title.
Overall, for Lee Ho Ching, Czestochowa was her eighth Women’s Doubles final at an open international tournament. In addition to her success with Doo Hoi Kem, she won in 2012 in Shanghai when partnering Jiang Huajun, notably beating China’s Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia in the final; later in 2014 in harness with Ng Wing Nam she succeeded in Qatar, before in 2015, winning in the Philippines alongside Zhu Chengzhu.
The one other occasion when Lee Ho Ching reached the Women’s Doubles final was in Bremen in 2012; on that occasion it was defeat at the hands of the host’s Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter.
Meanwhile, for Doo Hoi Kem, it was her sixth such final. Additional to her efforts in harness with Lee Ho Ching; in 2015 in Australia, partnering Zhu Chengzhu, the duo had been beaten in the final by Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Lee Dason. Later in the Czech Republic when joining forces with Tie Yana, it had been defeat at the hands of Jeon Jihee and Yang Yaeun.
Somewhat conversely for Miyu Kato and Miyu Maeda, it was their first appearance as a pairing in an open international tournament Women’s Doubles final.
However, neither were strangers to such a final. Last year Miyu Kato had finished in runners up spot in Austria when partnering Hina Hayata but in liaison with Misaki Morizono had won earlier in the year in Bulgaria.
Similarly, Miyu Maeda had experienced defeat in the final in Russia in 2014 when teaming with Hitomi Sato but one year later had won in Belarus when lining up alongside Sakura Mori.