10 Dec 2018

Success for Japan, Hokuto Koriyama and Ayane Morita won the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles titles at the Finlandia Open in Lohja on Sunday 9th December; each undoubtedly having a distinctive liking for the northern European country.

Two days earlier Ayane Morita had partnered colleague Saki Seyama to Women’s Team gold; for Hokuto Koriyama it was the third time in succession he had emerged victorious.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Proceedings organized on the progressive knock-out basis, for the player on whom all local eyes were focused, the host nation’s Benedek Olah, it was an eventual third place.

After losing to Japan’s Takumi Ichinose (11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9), he accounted for Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse (13-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4, 8-11, 6-11, 11-7), before overcoming Masato Kalitsuka, also from Japan (11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 12-10) to secure the bronze medal position. Against Takumi Ichinose, as is so often the situation, serve and especially receive of service was crucial.

“In the top French League nobody reads my serves that well.” Benedek Olah

Hard fought success for Takumi Ichinose but second place was his eventual lot. In his concluding contest, he experienced defeat at the hands of Hokuto Koriyama (11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7), a display that most certainly impressed Esko Heikkinen, the Chair of the Finnish Table Tennis Association.

“Koriyama’s performance describes very well the level of Japanese table tennis at the moment. He is ranked 32nd in the latest Japan rankings and is not even near the best of his country. In many other countries, he would be going to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.” Esko Heikkinen

Impressive from Hokuto Koriyama, it was the same from Ayane Morita who, following success in opposition to colleague Miko Tokunaga (11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7), overcame Norway’s Ma Wenting (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8) to reserve the top step of the podium.

Earlier Ma Wenting had beaten Saki Seyama (11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5), who in an event dominated by Japan, suffered in her next contest at the hands of Natsumi Nakahata (11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10). A notable performance by Natsumi Nakahata; later she overcame Miko Togunaga (11-7, 8-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7) to claim third place.

Four days of intense action concluded; the progressive knock-out system realizing a high volume of matches for every player and thus intense competition, a fact appreciated by players and coaches alike.

2018 Finlandia Open: Men’s Singles – Places 1 to 16 (Sunday 9th December)

2018 Finlandia Open: Women’s Singles – Places 1 to 16 (Sunday 9th December)

2018 Finlandia Open: Monday 13th June: Full Results (Sunday 9th December)

General News 2018 Finlandia Open