by Simon Daish
Shock defeat sends World no.1 home
World no.1 and Men’s Singles champion at last year’s tournament, but Fan Zhendong has missed out on the opportunity to lift the trophy for a second year running.
Making a slow start to the match the Chinese star struggled to find his footing in the quarter-finals, suffering a shock 4-2 defeat to Brazil’s Hugo Calderano (11-6, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9) to stun spectators stunned.
Hong Kong pair beat Unified Korea duo to gold medal
The first trophy on offer at the Grand Finals has been awarded to Hong Kong after Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem delivered a thunderous performance at the final hurdle of the Mixed Doubles event.
Needing just three games to get the job done (11-6, 11-8, 11-4), Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem brought the host nation’s dreams of a title win for the Unified Korea combination of Jang Woojin (KOR) and Cha Hyo Sim (PRK) to an end. However, regardless of the final outcome it has been a journey to remember for the Korean Peninsula as a whole.
Battle of champions
Meeting in the first Women’s Singles semi-final of the day were the title winners from 2016 and 2017 as Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng fought it out for a place in the 2018 final.
Victorious in their most recent head-to-head encounter at the 2018 Austrian Open and once again the plaudits went to Chen Meng, showing off her full offensive arsenal on her way to a powerful 4-2 win (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11, 11-3).
Debut maker to finalist
Appearing at the World Tour Grand Finals for the first time, now He Zhuojia is just one win away from leaving Incheon with a gold medal to her name.
Pulling through a tight match with second seed Kasumi Ishikawa by the narrowest of margins (11-4, 11-9, 11-13, 14-12, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9) He Zhuojia went on to achieve a mighty comeback effort in the last four, eliminating 2015 champion Ding Ning by a 4-2 score-line (12-14, 9-11, 19-17, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5).
New milestone for Harimoto
Not a stranger to setting records on the world stage, Tomokazu Harimoto has laid down a new marker by becoming the youngest player to reach the Men’s Singles final since the launch of the Grand Finals in 1996!
The 15-year-old Japanese ace proved too strong for Hugo Calderano (11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5) and will meet China’s Lin Gaoyuan for the chance to lift the trophy.
Missed any of the action? You can find all of the day’s results HERE.