by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for the Korean duo but it was a mighty struggle and very much reflected the latter rounds in the journey of each pair to the final.
At the quarter-final stage Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun had beaten the host nation’s Sara Ramirez and Maria Xiao, the no.7 seeds, in an impressive manner (13-11, 11-8, 11-8) but had then been stretched to the very limit by the Ukraine combination of Ganna Gaponova and Ievgeniia Vasylieva (10-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7), a pair who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.
Similarly, for Manika Batra and Mouma Das it had been a torturous route. In both the quarter and semi-final rounds, victory had been attained by the minimal margin. A hard fought success against Japanese qualifiers Saki Shibata and Maki Shiomi (11-6, 11-13, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9) had been the order of proceedings followed by an arguably even closer success in opposition to Spanish qualifiers Ana Garcia and Zhang Xuan (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 16-14).
Few rallies, in the final the Koreans found life difficult establishing a rhythm, the fact that Manika Batra uses long pimpled rubber on the backhand, reversed smooth runner on the forehand meant changes to the speed of the play.
Throughout the whole contest, neither pairing was able to establish a clear advantage; the decisive fifth game reflected that fact.
Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun established a 4-2 lead, Manika Batra and Mouma Das levelled at 4-all before moving ahead 8-7; the next three points went to Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, two match points, the first was saved not the second.
Victory for Korea, Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun celebrated, a most difficult hurdle had been negotiated.