by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A hard fought win despite the score-line reading three games to nil; arguably the crucial stage coming in the first game. At 10-9 Jiang Tianyi and Lam Sui Hang held game point; the chance was not taken, they were never to have another opportunity.
In the second game, the Koreans won the first two points, it was a lead they never relinquished; the Hong Kong duo reduced the arrears to one point at 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8 but never gained parity.
Again in the third game, Jeoung Sangeun and Lee Sangsu made the better start; they led 5-4, the Hong Kong pair elected for “Time Out”; the break paid immediate dividends. The won the next three points but never seized the advantage; the Korean duo secured five points in a row, at 10-7 they held three match points. The first was saved, not the second after Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu had called “Time Out” at 10-8.
Overall taking into account the ITTF World Tour and the ITTF Challenge Series it was the sixth time that Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu had appeared in a Men’s Doubles final; it was the third time they had emerged as champions.
In addition to Warsaw in 2013, when beating Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Kohei Sambe in the final, last year they won at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Magdeburg when overcoming another Japan pair in the guise of Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri.
Pertinently the success put an end to a series of defeats. In 2016, they had finished in runners up spot on three occasions; in Croatia they were beaten by the combination of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, in the Czech Republic by Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting. Meanwhile, on home soil in Korea it had been defeat at the hands of the redoubtable Chinese partnership of Xu Xin and Zhang Jike.
It was the first such final for Jiang Tianyi and Lam Sui Hang as a partnership.