by Simon Daish
Korean Partnerships In Sync
The first title success of the day for Korea Republic came in the Women’s Doubles tournament as Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun delivered a fine performance to hold off European challengers Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova.
While the match was decided in three games, that doesn’t paint the full picture with the Slovak and Czech pairing of Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova demonstrating great bravery throughout the tie. But in the end it was the Korean duo of Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun who held the slight advantage (11-9, 12-10, 13-11), winning their eighth gold medal as a partnership across ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series events.
Another case of the end scoreline not doing the match justice was apparent in the Men’s Doubles final, with Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu achieving a straight games victory over Hong Kong’s Jiang Tianyi and Lam Siu Hang.
Seeded third for the competition Jiang Tianyi and Lam Siu Hang were presented with an excellent opportunity to establish an early lead in the match, holding a game point advantage in the opening game of the final. But Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu recovered to steal game one before claiming the following two ends by three point margins (12-10, 11-8, 11-8) to reach the top step of the medals podium.
New Milestones For Yang Haeun and Lim Jonghoon
Yang Haeun and Honoka Hashimoto ensured their places in the Women’s Singles title match with respective victories against Margaryta Pesotska (12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9) and Jeon Jihee (3-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4) at the penultimate stage of the competition held in the morning session of play on day three.
In the battle between seeds three and four it was Yang Haeun who went on to win her first Women’s Singles gold medal at an ITTF Challenge Series event, emerging from the match against Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto victorious (8-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-8, 11-8) and leaving Spala as the tournament’s most successful player in 2018 with two titles to her name.
There was another landmark achievement over in the Men’s Singles finals as Lim Jonghoon triumphed over Jang Woojin in an all-Korean contest.
Enjoying a comfortable experience in the last four, Lim Jonghoon came out on top against young star Cho Daeseong without dropping a game (11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3) but the battle for the gold medal proved to be much tighter; trailing by a two games to one deficit Lim Jonghoon refused to give up the fight and a positive response saw the eighth seed recover to prevail in the deciding game (3-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6), claiming his first senior title in the process.