by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Furthermore for both players it was their first ever appearance in such a final, Mizuki Oikawa had ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series titles to his credit; there was no such history in the curriculum vitae of Miyu Kato.
En route to the penultimate round, Mizuki Oikawa had caused upset after upset; on the concluding day of action, he maintained the policy. At the semi-final stage he caused a major surprise by beating Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting, the top seed (13-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6), before at the final hurdle accounting for Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, the no.14 seed (15-13, 2-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 13-11).
In the counterpart penultimate round contest, Lubomir Pistej had overcome the defensive skills of colleague Wang Yang, the no.17 seed (5-11, 11-6, 11-9, 13-15, 12-10, 11-8).
A hard fought success for Mizuki Oikawa, it was even harder for Miyu Kato; at the final hurdle she overcame Sakura Mori, also from Japan by the very narrowest of margins in contest where after losing the first three games in the fourth she stood on the precipice of defeat; quite incredibly she recovered to win by the narrowest of margins in the deciding seventh game (10-12, 10-12, 5-11, 13-11, 11-6, 11-6, 13-11).
Earlier in the day in all Japanese semi-finals, Miyu Kato had beaten Honoka Hashimoto, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7); Sakura Mori had ousted Minami Ando, the no.10 seed (11-4, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-8).
First time winners on either the ITTF World Junior Circuit or the ITTF World Tour in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; it was the same in the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events, in both finals the seeded pair prevailing against a combination that had been required to qualify.
In the Men’s Doubles final, Poland’s Marek Badowski and Patryk Zatowka, the no.6 seeds, beat Brazil’s Eric Jouti and Gustavo Tsuboi (11-9, 12-10, 11-7); in the counterpart Women’s Doubles title decider, Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seeds, beat Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2).
Play concluded in Otocec, attention now turns to Zagreb; the ITTF Challenge Croatia Open commences on Thursday 12th April being preceded by a two day qualification tournament which begins on Tuesday 10th April.