by Ian Marshall, Editor
Success for Xu Xin meant he secured a consecutive Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles, three weeks earlier he had won in Australia.
Also, it meant, he collected the 14th such title of his career, the same number as Ding Ning, the no.6 seed but her first in 15 months since winning last May on home soil in Chengdu. Conversely for Kenta Matsudaira it was the third time in four years he has been the runner in Bulgaria, in 2015 and last year he experienced the same fate; for Wang Yidi, it was her first ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final.
Victory for Xu Xin in the Men’s Singles final at Japanese expense, earlier in the day in partnership with colleague Ma Long, it had been the same in the Men’s Doubles.
Also occupying the second seeded position, the duo accounted for Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6). Alas for Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, it was their third ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final of the year and the third time they had to settle for the second step of the podium. Earlier in the year they had suffered defeats in the finals in Hong Kong and most recently in Australia. Previously in the six finals in which they had appeared, they had won all six.
Somewhat conversely for Ma Long and Xu Xin, playing in their ninth career ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final, it was their ninth win; the perfect record maintained.
Disappointment for Japan but there was success; Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, the no.3 seeds, combined to win the Women’s Doubles title and in so doing retained the crown gained one year earlier. At the final hurdle they beat Chinese qualifiers Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui in four games (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).
Success for Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, as a pairing their second career ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles title; for the Japanese duo Panagyurishte is a special place.