27 Oct 2018

Dynamic fast attacking young left handers on duty it was Korea Republic’s Park Gangyheon who gained the verdict in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in De Haan on the afternoon of Saturday 27th October,

The 22 year old, required to compete in the two day qualification tournament accounted for Japan’s 17 years of age, Yukiya Uda, the no.20 seed in a scintillating seven games duel. He surrendered one match point in the fourth game before saving one the seventh, to secure victory by the narrowest of margins (14-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10).

by Ian Marshall, Editor
Ahead throughout the early stages of the opening game, Park Ganghyeon seized the early advantage but it was not without some moments of concern; at 10-9 he held game point before eventually emerging successful after saving two game points.

Once again in the second game, Park Ganghyeon seized the early advantage, he established a 7-4 lead; the difference this time being that he never allowed his rival to gain parity. At 10-7 he held three game points, one was saved but not a second, Park Ganghyeon held a definitive lead.

Now increasingly confident, quick to seize the opportunity, devastating with the first attacking stroke, in the third game Park Ganghyeon went ahead 4-1; Yukiya Uda called “Time Out”. However, the immediate effect of the break was that it worked in favour of Park Ganghyeon; he extended the lead to 8-2, before at 10-5 holding five game points. Perhaps a lapse of concentration, unforced errors, he eventually secured the game by the minimal two margin after at 10-8 electing for “Time Out”.

Trailing by two games to nil, Yukiya Uda made the better start in the fourth but at 8-all matters were level; in a positive manner, he won the next two points to lead 10-8 but the next three went to Park Ganghyeon. Yukiya saved the game point; then won the next two to seal the game and keep hopes alive.

Boosted by the success, Yukiya Uda leading from start to finish, secured the fifth game and maintained the momentum in sixth. Attacking quickly over the table, he established an 8-4 lead; he never relinquished the advantage, a decisive seventh game beckoned.

At the change of ends Yukiya Uda held a one point advantage; fast forehand top spin play was the order of the day from both gladiators. Park Ganghyeon levelled but again at 9-all it was parity, before at 10-9 Yukiya Uda held match point.

The match point was saved, the next two went to Park Ganghyeon, the title was secured, the young man from the Korea Republic had won his first Men’s Singles title at an open international tournament; for Yukiya Uda he must wait.

“It was a difficult final. I was leading three-nil in games and the Japanese player came back. When I was leading I was thinking too much about winning the tournament. In the seventh game I was calm again and could finish the match. I played incredibly well this week and I am so happy with my first title. I will never forget this tournament. Now I hope to win a major event soon.”

Success for Park Ganghyeon he had climbed a step higher, on the ITTF World Tour he had won Under 21 Men’s Singles titles in Austria in 2016 as well as in 2017 in Australia and Sweden.

Challenge Series 2018 Belgium Open Yukiya Uda Park Ganghyeon

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open

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