by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Unquestionably, Jang Woojin was ready for the battle, in fact he was more than ready for the battle; did he have a point to prove? He had not been selected for the bronze medal winning Korean squad at the recent 2018 World Team Championships in London.
Notably his opponent, alongside Lee Sangsu and Jeong Sangeun, who had both departed in the early rounds in Spala, had been on duty in the Copper Box arena.
The question to be answered was which strength would dominate. The forehand is the favoured weapon of Jang Woojin for Jeoung Youngsik it is the backhand, rather contrary to Korean traditions.
It was the forehand that prevailed; from the gun Jang Woojin was the more active player, certainly he was by far the more vocal; time and again in the first three games Jeoung Youngsik was forced into the passive role. Never-say-die, to his great credit Jeoung Youngsik won the fourth and fifth games but was unable to maintain the momentum; at 10-7 in the sixth game, Jang Woojin held three match points; he needed just one.
Jang Woojin had entered the arena all guns blazing; it was the same for Lim Junghoon when facing Cho Daeseong. Lim Jonghoon was well aware that he was facing a special talent, a young man with golden hands. One week earlier at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open when facing Hugo Calderano in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event, the Brazilian had not given Lim Jonghoon time to draw breath. In Spala, Lim Jonghoon did the same to his compatriot.
Quick to execute the first attack Lim Junghoon dominated from start to finish; after winning a close third game in the fourth he was buoyant. He won the first seven points before on his second match point at 10-3 he secured victory.
Defeat but being a qualifier, Cho Daeseong can reflect on a most successful tournament and one must take into consideration the age gap; he is only 15 years, Lim Jonghoon is 21 years of age. In that time of life there is a vast difference in physicality and maturity.
Note the name Cho Daeseong, time is on his side.