by Simon Daish
The first senior trophy of the 2018 Australian Open has been claimed by Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee after the top seeded partnership accounted for second seeds and fellow compatriots Lim Jonghoon and Yang Haeun in the Mixed Doubles final.
Trailing by a two games to one deficit Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee made a strong response, winning back-to-back games to secure the top spot on the podium in the category (6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Displaying an air of calm throughout China’s Xu Xin has moved through to the gold medal contest in the Men’s Singles draw in Geelong.
In his first encounter of the day Xu Xin saw off German opponent Patrick Franziska with little difficulty (11-7, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9) and one round later the pen-hold specialist proved too strong for Japanese star Tomokazu Harimoto (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).
Success for Xu Xin and in the final the second seed will meet Liu Dingshuo in an all-China contest. Qualifier Liu Dingshuo required the full match distance to eliminate Yu Ziyang from the competition (11-9, 11-3, 5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 5-11, 11-8) but in the semi-finals only four games were needed to send Yuya Oshima home packing (11-6, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8).
Ding Ning saw off two of Japan’s leading table tennis players to book her place in the Women’s Singles final. Neither one of Miu Hirano (11-6, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8) nor Kasumi Ishikawa (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8), seeded fourth and first respectively, managed to put a dent in the Chinese star’s title hopes as the World and Olympic Champion cruised through day three’s action.
In the final Ding Ning will face a familiar name with national teammate Liu Shiwen successfully negotiating her two fixtures: the second seed began her day’s work with a straight games quarter-finals win against Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun (11-3, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7) before earning a victory across six games over qualifier He Zhuojia (7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7).