by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
It was a result that when the first game had been completed appeared far distant; in that game Jang Woojin afforded Lim Jonghoon just three points.
In the semi-final contest against colleague Jeoung Youngsik, Jang Woojin had encouraged himself vocally forward with every point gained; in the final against Lim Jonghoon it was no different. Once again he was more than ready for the engagement.
The opening game won at lightning speed, by the narrowest of margins Lim Jonghoon responded to secure the second; the third was close, the crucial stage being with matters level at 8-all, Jang Woojin accelerated to win the next three points to establish a two games to one lead.
Once again in the fourth game it was parity at 8-all, only this time it was a reversal of the previous game; Lim Jonghoon won the next three points to level proceedings.
The contest in the balance, effective from the backhand, creating angles, Lim Jonghoon went ahead 10-7 in the fifth, Jang Woojin saved all three game points, Lin Jonghoon taking a “Time Out” at 10-9; at 11-10, Lim Jonghoon held a fourth game point, this time he converted, for the first time in the contest he was ahead.
In the sixth game, Jang Woojin made the better start but Lim Jonghoon reduced the gap to one point at 5-4; Jang Woojin called “Time Out”. He extended the advantage to 7-4; at 10-6 he held four game points to level matters, he needed just one. A decisive seventh game beckoned.
A decisive game and from Lim Jonghoon a decisive start; at the change of ends he led 5-0; Jang Woojin won the next point but he was dispirited. He was aware the title chance had gone. At 10-4 Lim Jonghoon held six match points; Jang Woojin saved two but no more, the title belonged to Lim Jonghoon.
It was for Lim Jonghoon a landmark; although on the ITTF World Tour in 2016 and 2017 he had won a total of four Under 21 Men’s Singles titles, it was his first such Men’s Singles final. Conversely, Jang Woojin, the 2013 World Junior champion, had won a notable title; in 2016 he had won on the ITTF World Tour in Belarus when beating Russia’s Grigory Vlasov in the final.
A milestone moment for Lim Jonghoon and a moment to savour for Korea, on the concluding day of play in Spala, four finals four titles; kamsamida.