by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
At the final hurdle Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi imposed their authority on proceedings from the very first point to record a straight games win in opposition to Chinese Taipei qualifiers, Peng Wang-Wei and Sun Chia-Hung (11-6, 11-3, 11-5).
Notably it was the second such final for the Hungarians: last year at the 2017 ITTF Slovenia Open in Otocec they had been beaten in the title decider by Korea’s Cho Wonjin and Lee Jungwoo.
Very differently for Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato they were competing in their ninth such final. Pertinently it was their eighth success and a successful defence of the title secured last year, when they accounted for the Belarus pairing of Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos to reserve the top step of the podium.
In this year’s title deciding contest, they beat the combination of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.2 seeds (10-12, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9) to claim their second such title of the year.
Two weeks ago they had won in Spain when overcoming Luxembourg’s Sara de Nutte and Ni Xia Lian in the final.
Notably of the nine Women’s Doubles finals in which Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato have appeared as a partnership on the ITTF World Tour or at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, only once have they finished in runners up spot.
Last year in Austria, they were beaten in the final by China’s Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha; now in Croatia it was step higher, the highest step.