by Ian Marshall, Editor
A good start to settle the nerves, Jang Woojin made that good start, in the opening game he established a 5-1 lead, Liang Jingkun reduced the deficit to one point at 9-8 but was never able to gain parity; the host nation’s hero held an early lead.
However, in the second game, it was Liang Jingkun who seized the early advantage, he went ahead 6-4; immediately Jang Woojin, the better player over the table in the short game, won the next four points, at 10-8, he held two game points, the first was saved, not the second.
Increasingly confident, in the third game, Jang Woojin won the first three points, Liang Jingkun called “Time Out”, he levelled at 6-all but then the next three points went in favour of Jang Woojin. Serving short with his forehand to the forehand of Liang Jingkun, Jang Woojin seized the third game; the crowd went wild.
Now oozing confidence from Jang Woojin dominated the fourth game; from 2-all he won the next seven points, surrendering just one more before securing victory.
It was a quite remarkable performance from a player, who like Liang Jinkun, had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.
Overall, taking all three events into consideration, he played 16 matches, he won every one.
Success he becomes the fifth host nation player to win an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title on home soil. The coach sitting courtside, Kim Taeksoo won in 2001, Joo Saehyuk succeeded in 2006, Oh Sangeun in both 2005 and 2007. More recently Jeoung Youngsik prevailed in 2015.
It is the second ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title of Jang Woojin’s career; in 2016 he won in Belarus but nothing will ever replace or compare with winning in 2018 in Daejeon, an incredible feat, a tournament for Jang Woojin, the Korean Peninsula and the world to remember.