by Simon Daish
Title defence achieved
Chen Meng once again took her spot at the summit of the Women’s Singles podium, successfully defending the title she won last year with another convincing display in Incheon.
Falling to an opening game defeat against surprise finalist He Zhuojia but Chen Meng held her nerve, winning four games on the bounce (9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7) to cap off her terrific campaign in style.
Home crowd celebrates as Koreans strike gold
Fifth seeds Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon gave the Korean spectators plenty to cheer about on the closing day of the tournament following a dramatic encounter with Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting.
In a match that went the full distance, Korea’s Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon came out on top by the skin of their teeth (10-12, 13-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8) to become the third pair from the country to lift the trophy.
New record for Harimoto
Never ceasing to amaze, Tomokazu Harimoto has broken another record on the world stage by becoming the youngest athlete to claim Men’s Singles gold at the Grand Finals aged just 15 years and 172 days old!
At the final hurdle in Incheon the Japanese star needed just five games to achieve the feat, beating China’s Lin Gaoyuan in a thrilling affair (11-4, 13-15, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).
Japanese duo show their strength
Victory for Japan in the penultimate fixture of the day and there was further success for the country in the final contest of the tournament as Hina Hayata and Mima Ito emerged as Women’s Doubles champions.
Despite all three games being decided by the closest of margins, one pair held a narrow but distinctive advantage over the course of the match with Hina Hayata and Mima Ito proving too strong for Chinese rivals Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha (11-9, 13-11, 12-10).
Young stars take Incheon by storm
With proceedings finally drawing to a close, it’s only natural to cast your mind back to the main highlights from the four-day extravaganza in Incheon and surely the standout story has to have been the incredible showing from some of the world’s finest young stars at the event.
Whether it’s Tomokazu Harimoto’s title win, He Zhuojia’s amazing debut or even Hugo Calderano’s astonishing display against World no.1 Fan Zhendong it’s fair to say that the future of table tennis is in bright hands and let’s not forget Lin Gaoyuan who, despite missing out on the top prize, pulled off impressive victories over former champions Xu Xin and Jun Mizutani on his way to the final.
That’s all from Incheon, we hope you enjoyed the dramatic finale to the 2018 ITTF World Tour season and we look forward to welcoming you back in the New Year when the world’s biggest stars will meet again on the path to international glory.
Missed any of the action? You can find all of the day’s results HERE.