by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Success for Saki Shibata meant that she departed Guadalajara the most successful player in the whole tournament; the previous day she had won the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, beating Korea’s Kim Youjin in the final (11-2, 11-8, 11-6).
Meanwhile, for Kim Minhyeok, it was the end of a long journey. He had started his quest for honours four days earlier in the qualification tournament; overall he played eight matches to secure the title.
Furthermore, you can add another six to that number. Partnering Cho Eonrae, the duo, having likewise started their campaign in the qualification tournament, finished in runners up spot in the Men’s Doubles event. On the concluding day of play, they were beaten at the final hurdle by colleagues An Jaehyun and Cho Seungmin, the top seeds (11-8, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4).
Success for Cho Seungmin and like Saki Shibata, he departed Guadalajara with two titles to his name; the previous day, he had won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title beating Germany’s Tobias Hippler in the final (11-9, 11-6, 11-4).
Meanwhile, for Hitomi Sato, there was a degree of consolation, partnering Honoka Hashimoto and occupying the top seeded position in the competition the duo won the Women’s Doubles title, the opening contest on the concluding day’s schedule. In the title deciding contest they overcame Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Ni Xialian (11-8, 11-7, 11-4).
Success for Korea, success for Japan; all three male titles finished in Korean hands; all three female gold medals around Japanese necks.
Play in Guadalajara concluded, attention now turns to Otocec; the 2018 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open commences with the qualification tournament on Monday 2nd April.