by Simon Daish
Line-Up Decided For Singles Finals
The first item on the agenda was the semi-finals stage of the Women’s Singles draw as Feng Tianwei and Cheng I-Ching missed out on the chance to compete in the gold medal contest. Seeded first for the competition but Singapore’s Feng Tianwei once again fell at the hands of Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon (3-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5), losing out to the Korean player for the sixth time in eight meetings.
Cheng I-Ching came mightily close to a spot in the final; the Chinese Taipei competitor led Kasumi Ishikawa by three games to two but failed to get over the finish line as the second seed from Japan recovered, prevailing in the deciding game (11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 10-12, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6).
There was success for China over in the last four of the Men’s Singles tournament with Xu Xin and Ma Long emerging victorious from their penultimate round encounters across six games.
Xu Xin ended any hopes the host nation had of coming away with silverware after the No.3 seed brought Patrick Franziska’s wonderful run in Bremen to a close (9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7) while Ma Long accounted for Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (11-4, 13-11, 11-2, 9-11, 4-11, 11-9) to set up an all-China final.
Teenage Duo Defends Title And Ma Long Back To Winning Ways
Japan received the first gold medal of the day with Hina Hayata and Mima Ito successfully retaining their Women’s Doubles title; the top seeded duo, who reached the top step of the podium at last year’s tournament hosted in Magdeburg, defeated Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the third seeds (11-3, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6) to win their fourth trophy as a partnership on the ITTF World Tour.
“I am pleased to win this match and to win again for the second time in Germany.” Mima Ito
Then it was the turn of Ma Long and Xu Xin to battle it out for glory in the Men’s Singles final: Very little separated the two Chinese stars with the opening four games being decided by a narrow two-point margin but in the end, there was a clear winner as Ma Long saw off his fellow countryman (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6) to win a record fifth Men’s Singles title at the German Open and his first trophy on the ITTF World Tour since the Seamaster 2017 Platinum Lion Japan Open held last June.
“I think Germany is a lucky country for me, and Bremen a lucky city. I’m happy to be back and thank you everyone for supporting me here.” Ma Long
First German Open Successs For Japanese Star
Kasumi Ishikawa then met Suh Hyowon in the fight for the Women’s Singles title, a tie which saw the Japanese representative emerge victorious at the German Open for the first time. After two close games to start off the match and with the scores square at one game apiece Kasumi Ishikawa raised her performance to a new level against the Korean, winning the next three games on the bounce (11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
“Germany is also a lucky place for me, because I won the Mixed Doubles at the World Championships here last year. Thanks to the fans here for cheering for me.” Kasumi Ishikawa
Rivals earlier in the day but Ma Long and Xu Xin formed an alliance for the closing fixture in Bremen, pairing up to great success in the Men’s Doubles title match; the fifth seeds overpowered Korean opponents Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, defeating the 2017 gold medallists in straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) and following the conclusion of the match Ma Long had high praise for his doubles partner:
“He is the best doubles player in the world, it is an honour to play with him, I hope to return next year and try to win again; danke schoen.” Ma Long