11 Oct 2018

Homework completed in detail, tactics executed to perfection, China’s Wang Chuqin upset the order of merit to win the Men’s Singles title at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games on the evening of Wednesday 10th October.

The no.6 seed, at the final hurdle he beat Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the top seed, in five games (11-8, 5-11, 11-1, 13-11, 11-9) to arrest the title.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Just as in the semi-final contest when facing Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, like Wang Chuqin a left hander, Tomokazu Harimoto had experienced problems when returning service from short in the forehand. It was somewhat the same, as Wang Chuqin secured the opening game.

Adapting to the subtle variations in service from Wang Chuqin, Tomokazu Harimoto won the next game but in the third the problems faced in the first when receiving services directed short to his forehand, returned. Quite incredibly Wang Chuqin won the first 10 points before deliberately serving into the net in a moment of charity. Tomokazu Harimoto returned the complimented by deliberately failing to return the next service.

Completely outplayed in the third game, in the fourth Tomokazu Harimoto responded, he established a 5-3 lead but at 8-7 the advantage was down to one point; he called “Time Out”. Immediately Wang Chuqin levelled, at 10-9 he held game point, it was saved; then came what was to prove the big chance for Tomokazu Harimoto, at 11-10 he held game point.

It was the crucial stage of the match. Wang Chuqin saved the game point before winning the next three.

Wang Chuqin was now in the ascendancy; to his great credit as always Tomokazu Harimoto fought, he played from the heart but resolute, outstanding over the table, responding at the critical times, Wang Chuqin emerged successful.

Tomokazu Harimoto went ahead 6-4 but he was never able to extend the advantage. Wang Chuqin won the next two points before establishing a 9-8 lead; fighting for Japan, Tomokazu Harimoto levelled but crucially Wang Chuqin was now serving. He took full advantage of the situation. He secured both points.

“I’m happy that I could win the title, it’s definitely a boost to my confidence and by far the most important victory in my career. Harimoto’s skills and world ranking are very high, he is a strong player, so I came into the match with the mindset to learn.” Wang Chuqin

Promptly he took of his shirt, not quite in a Zhang Jike ripping manner, more sedately, he pointed the Chinese initials on the back of the garment to the crowd.

Success for Wang Chuqin, he thus emulated the feat of Fan Zhendong four years ago in Nanjing, for Tomokazu Harimoto, he fell just one step short of bringing the title to Japan for a second time; in 2010 in Singapore, Koki Niwa had prevailed.

Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Tomokazu Harimoto Wang Chuqin

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Day 9 - Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games