Tournaments

24 Dec 2018

Table Tennis' biggest stars are all here in Incheon, Korea! Follow all the thrill and spills from the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals right here, right now!

FINAL DAY HEADLINES

With the action drawing to a close, here are the day’s headlines:

  • Tomokazu HARIMOTO sets Grand Finals record
  • CHEN Meng successfully defends title
  • Doubles joy for Korea Republic and Japan

RECAP THE ACTION

Experience the drama of the final day all over again with the Day 4 Review presented by GoDaddy:

POINT OF DAY 4

Here’s the point of the day presented by Stiga:

TIME TO RELAX

Victorious on the Grand Finals stage for the second year running, here’s what CHEN Meng had to say following her win against HE Zhuojia:

HAYATA AND ITO SEAL GOLD

The Women’s Doubles crown has gone to Hina HAYATA and Mima ITO after the Japanese pair successfully crossed over the finish line with another strong outing in game three.

In similar fashion to the previous game CHEN Xingtong and SUN Yingsha rescued numerous game point opportunities to take the match into deuce but once again the Chinese pair fell short as top seed HAYATA and ITO emerged as 3-0 winners (11-9, 13-11, 12-10).

JAPAN ON COURSE

Two games played, two games won by Japan’s Hina HAYATA and Mima ITO in the Women’s Doubles final.

Despite saving four game point opportunities in a row and holding one of their own, CHEN Xingtong and SUN Yingsha narrowly miss out on levelling the score and now face an uphill task ahead of them.

HE’S DONE IT!!!

History has been made in Incheon as Tomokazu HARIMOTO leaves the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals as the youngest-ever Men’s Singles champion after emerging victorious over China’s LIN Gaoyuan by a 4-1 score-line (11-4, 13-15, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9).

The 15-year-old Japanese teenager smashes the previous record set in 2003 by WANG Hao, who won the title one day prior to his 20th birthday at the time. Congratulations to the new Men’s Singles champion on another historic achievement.

ADVANTAGE HARIMOTO

Despite a positive response from LIN Gaoyuan (CHN) the advantage lies with Tomokazu HARIMOTO once again. The Japanese ace keeps his cool in game three, preventing a late fightback from his opponent to move into a 2-1 lead.

All still to play for in Incheon.

WHO WILL BE THE NEW MEN’S CHAMPION??

There’s only one thing certain tonight: there will be a completely new Men’s Singles champion at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. That’s right, neither of today’s finalists has ever won the coveted trophy before, so we are about to enter unchartered territory here in Incheon.

LIN Gaoyuan or Tomokazu HARIMOTO. Who will it be? That’s question that everyone is asking of course. Incredibly, this will be just the second time ever that the two players face each other, having met at this year’s China Open in the round of 16. LIN Gaoyuan came out on top that day 4-1. However, the scores start again at 0-0 tonight and only time will tell who can get the upper hand on one of Table Tennis’ biggest stages!

KEY FACTS: For both players this is only their SECOND appearance at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. If he wins today, HARIMOTO will become the youngest ever Men’s Singles champion of a major Table Tennis tournament at just 15 years, 172 days of age! Let’s see if the sport’s record books will be completely rewritten tonight!

Tune into ITTV from 14.30 GMT+9 to find out!

For social media updates, head to ITTF’s FacebookInstagramTwitterWeibo and Youtube channels.

HOST NATION WINS GOLD!

After five games of high drama, the Men’s Doubles title goes to JANG Woojin and LIM Jonghoon of Korea Republic to do the host nation proud!! Congratulations!!

KOREA IN POLE POSITION

The whole country is behind them!! Despite an early set back, losing the first game, Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon are now ahead, leading the score 2-1! Incredible action from the pair as they attempt to win the title on home soil against Wong Chun Ting and Ho Kwan Kit of Hong Kong:

CHEN MENG IS CHAMPION!!!

SHE’S DONE IT!!! For two years in a row, CHEN Meng is the Women’s Singles Champion at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals!!!

Watch her win match point:

CHEN MENG IN CONTROL

HE Zhuojia won the first game, but CHEN Meng has battled her way back to win the next three, playing some powerful shots along the way:

The 2017 champion is on course to retain her crown.

COUNTDOWN TO WOMEN’S SINGLES FINAL

It all comes down to this: at 14.30 GMT+9 CHEN Meng and HE Zhuojia will battle it out for the Women’s Singles crown here in Korea!

Some facts you ought to know about these two going into the final:

CHEN Meng is the defending Women’s Singles champion, having won the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Astana, Kazakhstan. Winner of this year’s Austrian Open – the last World Tour event of 2018 – the Chinese star has hit form when it matters most!

20-year-old Chinese player, HE Zhuojia, is the ‘new kid on the block’ so to speak, but is ready to ruffle more feathers here in Incheon, having already knocked out World no. 1 DING Ning in the semi-finals. You would not know it from the quality of her performances and mental strength – not least in her comeback from 2-0 down to win 4-2 in the previous round – but this is her FIRST ever appearance at the  ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. Can she maintain her 100% record in the showpiece event with the title at the first time of asking?!

Tune into ITTV from 14.30 GMT+9 to find out!

For social media updates, head to ITTF’s FacebookInstagramTwitterWeibo and Youtube channels.

DAY THREE HEADLINES

Here are the top stories from Day Three in Incheon:

  • WONG Chun Ting and DOO Hoi Kem secure Mixed Doubles gold
  • FAN Zhendong suffers shock quarter-finals exit
  • Teenage stars Tomokazu HARIMOTO and HE Zhuojia reach singles finals

DAY 3 IN REVIEW

Catch up on all of the big talking points from Day Three in Incheon:

POINT OF DAY 3

This rally between Jun MIZUTANI and LIANG Jingkun deserves another watch:

FINAL AWAITS

Relive the moment LIN Gaoyuan sealed his spot in the Men’s Singles final:

THOUGHTS FROM HARIMOTO

Fresh from securing his spot in the Men’s Singles final, Tomokazu HARIMOTO has spoken about his outstanding achievement on what is only his second Grand Finals appearance:

“I am very happy obviously. Hopefully I can win the next match too and keep enjoying this situation even more. I very much expected FAN Zhendong to make it to the semi-finals. I was surprised that Hugo CALDERANO made it so far. Therefore, I went into the match preparations with a lot of enthusiasm. My tactics were just the same as always. I tried not to make any unforced errors.”

Tomokazu HARIMOTO

LIN GAOYUAN GOES ONE BETTER

Semi-finalist in 2017, LIN Gaoyuan (CHN) has gone one better in Incheon by reserving his spot in the Men’s Singles final.

The 23-year-old showed an air of calm throughout his penultimate round encounter with 2010 and 2014 champion Jun MIZUTANI, racing to a 4-0 win against the Japanese competitor (11-5, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10) to stay in the race for silverware.

NEWCOMER STUNS QUEEN OF HEARTS!

(Photo: An Sungho)

On her first appearance at the Grand Finals HE Zhuojia has made the final round of the Women’s Singles competition in Incheon following a stunning outing against 2015 champion DING Ning.

In a topsy-turvy battle the “Queen of Hearts” looked to be on her way to Sunday’s final after establishing a two games lead, however, a breathtakingly close win in game three set HE Zhuojia on her way to an incredible comeback display (12-13, 9-11, 19-17, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5), setting up a meeting with defending champion CHEN Meng.

CHEN MENG REACTS

Victorious against fellow compatriot ZHU Yuling in the Women’s Singles semi-finals, CHEN Meng has taken some time to reflect on the result:

“Since there is so much that we know about each other and so many matches where we have played against each other in the past, I think what really matters is which one of us is able to better act on the spot.”

CHEN Meng

TEENAGE SENSATION REACHES FINAL

Just 15 years of age but Japan’s Tomokazu HARIMOTO is through to his first-ever ITTF World Tour Grand Finals title match following an eye-catching performance against Hugo CALDERANO.

Responsible for the elimination of last year’s champion earlier in the day but CALDERANO’s journey was halted in the last four with a straight games defeat (11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5). However, that didn’t stop the Brazilian from pulling off one of the more unique shots of the tournament:

CLASSY DISPLAY FROM DEFENDING CHAMPION

CHEN Meng is now just one victory away from successfully defending the Women’s Singles title at the Grand Finals after the no.6 seed came through a tense all-China semi-final battle with ZHU Yuling.

Trailing 0-1 but the 2017 champion responded well, emerging from the match with a 4-3 win to her name (9-11, 11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 13-11, 11-3) to reserve her place in Sunday’s gold medal contest.

HONG KONG WINS MIXED DOUBLES TITLE

There is no fairytale ending for the Unified Korea pair, JANG Woojin (KOR) and CHA Hyo Sim (PRK), who fall in straight games to Hong Kong counterparts WONG Chun Ting and DOO Hoi Kem in the Mixed Doubles final.

Nonetheless, this has been a special journey for all concerned and the players’ achievements here in Incheon – and throughout the year – have done the Peninsula proud.

WILL MIZUTANI CONTINUE TREND?

Champion in 2010 and 2014: every four years Jun MIZUTANI (JPN) wins the World Tour Grand Finals and he’s doing his utmost to continue the trend here in Incheon, impressively calm and composed in his 4-2 comeback victory over LIANG Jingkun (CHN).

HE ZHUOJIA SEALS SEVEN-GAME THRILLER!

We’re being treated to some amazing Table Tennis action today in Incheon! The pick of the Women’s Singles matches so far, HE Zhuojia (CHN) eventually overcomes Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN) in a match that goes the complete distance!

The Chinese upcoming star led 2-0 and 3-1 before 2014 champion ISHIKAWA fought her way back to 3-3. With the match on a knife-edge in the seventh and final game, watch the incredible rally which sent HE to the semi-finals:

HUGE FROM HUGO! FAN ZHENDONG EXITS

Words can’t describe just what a big win this is…!! In his first ever World Tour Grand Finals, Hugo CALDERANO from Brazil has beaten the World Number One, FAN Zhendong! The 2017 champion’s title defence is over and it took an out-of-this-world performance to knock him out of the competition. Re-live the dramatic final point and epic celebrations:

Known for his exuberant celebrations, will Hugo be doing backflips if he goes all the way?! Here’s what he had to say post-match:

ZHU YULING STORMS INTO SEMIS

She may have lost her World Number One placement to DING Ning, but ZHU Yuling is through to the semi-finals of the World Tour Grand Finals after seeing off LIU Shiwen in straight games (11-1, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6).

The 2016 winner will now face last year’s champion CHEN Meng in tonight’s semi-final (19.00 GMT+9). Do not miss it!

DAY TWO HEADLINES

Here are the headlines from day two:

  • Timo BOLL exits at first hurdle
  • DING Ning returns to World no.1 spot
  • Top seeds depart singles events

POINT OF DAY 2

This incredible rally between WANG Manyu and CHEN Meng wins the Point of Day 2 presented by Stiga:

THE STORY OF DAY 2

Recap the highs and lows of the second day of play in Incheon with our Day 2 Review:

CALDERANO ON TOUGH CHALLENGE AHEAD

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

Into the quarter-finals on his Grand Finals debut, Brazil’s Hugo CALDERANO looks ahead to his upcoming match with reigning champion FAN Zhendong set to take place on Saturday:

“I don’t really have a goal in terms of my placement in this tournament, because it’s obviously very tough. All the players are at a very top level and now I’ll be facing Fan Zhendong. It’s going to be a really tough match. I’ll do my best and hope I can perform well.”

CAN THEY GO ALL THE WAY?

History makers JANG Woojin (KOR) and CHA Hyo Sim (PRK) booked their place in the Mixed Doubles final earlier in the day, can they go one step further and lift the trophy in Incheon?

WHAT A RESULT!

LIN Gaoyuan has chalked up one of the results of the tournament so far, delivering a stunning display to knock top seed XU Xin out of the proceedings.

In the all-China affair it was the no.6 seed who came away with a smile on his face (11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 11-13, 11-2, 11-9) to reach the last four for the second year in a row!

HOW MUCH FURTHER CAN HE GO?

Here’s how Tomokazu HARIMOTO sealed his place in the last four of the Men’s Singles event:

NEW WORLD NO.1: QUEEN OF HEARTS

Successful in her opening encounter of the day against Japan’s Saki SHIBATA, now the “Queen of Hearts” herself DING Ning has moved through to the semi-finals of the Women’s Singles draw in Korea, returning to the top of the women’s world rankings list in the process!

In the penultimate fixture of Day Two, DING needed just four games to see off Chinese Taipei’s CHENG I-Ching (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-1) to book her spot on Saturday’s programme.

KOREAN HEARTS BROKEN AS JANG WOOJIN DEPARTS

(Photo: An Sungho)

JANG Woojin’s Men’s Singles journey has drawn to a close in Incheon after losing out to Japanese star Tomokazu HARIMOTO in the last eight.

Producing a performance full of great heart and bravery but much to the disappointment of the home fans JANG ultimately fell short across five games (12-10, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9). Quarter-finalist last year, now HARIMOTO will compete in the semi-finals where either China’s FAN Zhendong or Brazil’s Hugo CALDERANO awaits.

END OF THE ROAD FOR TOP SEED

The top seeded player for the Women’s Singles draw WANG Manyu has been eliminated at the quarter-finals stage of the competition following a hard fought encounter with defending champion CHEN Meng.

Emerging victorious in a close contest, which saw three of the five games go to deuce (16-14, 11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 16-14), CHEN Meng is now potentially just two wins away from lifting the trophy for a second year running!

TIMO CRASHES OUT AT FIRST HURDLE

Timo BOLL’s World Tour Grand Finals campaign lasted scarcely over half an hour, as the German pro struggled to cope with the power and persistence of Chinese counterpart LIANG Jingkun.

LIANG, who is making his debut in the competition, romped to a 3-0 advantage, before eventually getting the better of BOLL despite a late rally by the 37-year-old.

CALDERANO MAKES THE QUARTERS!

In his first ever World Tour Grand Finals appearance, Hugo CALDERANO has made it through to the Last Eight players. The Brazilian saw off the challenge of Yuya OSHIMA in a hard-fought 4-3 victory. Here’s how Hugo clinched victory:

LIU DINGSHUO OUT THROUGH INJURY

BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR FAN ZHENDONG

The World no. 1 is up and running in emphatic fashion following a straight-game victory over Koki NIWA (JPN).

Just two days after taking to the stage to lift his Male Table Tennis Star Award, FAN Zhendong has already set his sights on a second trophy this week: the World Tour Grand Finals Men’s Singles title, which he is determined to retain following his 2017 success in Astana. On the evidence of today’s match, the 21-year-old star will take some beating!

UNIFIED KOREA: JOURNEY CONTINUES!

Cheers of joy are ringing around the Namdong Gymnasium after the Unified Korea pairing of JANG Woojin and CHA Hyo Sim booked their place in the Mixed Doubles final!

They have the entire Peninsula (and more) supporting them, and according to JANG Woojin, the special atmosphere is certainly playing a part to this unique success story:

“To hear the cheer “Korea” was very meaningful and empowering. At times, I felt goosebumps of excitement running through me. I’m always thankful for the cheers.”

Jang Woojin

JANG Woojin and CHA Hyo Sim thank the crowd for their support in Incheon.

DO WE HAVE A POINT OF DAY 2 ALREADY???

ZHU Yuling (CHN) has every trick in the book and the World no. 1 had simply too much for Hitomi SATO (JPN) in her convincing Round of 16 victory (11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-1, 11-4). Check this out!

DING NING GETS JOB DONE

The reigning Female Table Tennis Star, DING Ning (CHN) began her pursuit of a second trophy of the week by defeating Saki SHIBATA (JPN) in five games (11-3, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5).

“It has been a long time since I won (the World Tour Grand Finals) in 2015. I didn’t play in last year’s competition. Regarding today’s match, I had the goal to win of course but I wasn’t focusing on the score, I just wanted to do my best and put in the best possible performance. Since I have met Saki before at the China Open, I tried to use the same tactics against her this time around.”

Ding Ning after knocking out Saki Shibata

KOREA vs HONG KONG IN MEN’S DOUBLES FINAL

Hong Kong will be in with a shout of silverware at this year’s World Tour Grand Finals after HO Kwan Kit and WONG Chun Ting stunned 2015 and 2017 champions Masataka MORIZONO and Yuya OSHIMA (JPN) to reach the Men’s Doubles final.

There, they will face JANG Woojin and LIM Jonghoon, who overcame JEOUNG Youngsik and LEE Sangsu in an all-Korean semi-final.

Hong Kong Handshake! HO Kwan Kit and WONG Chun Ting are into the Men’s Doubles final!

 

FRIDAY FEELING FOR JAPANESE PAIR!

Mima ITO and Hina HAYATA started Day 2 in the best possible fashion, by booking their place in Saturday’s Women’s Doubles final, where they will face CHEN Xingtong and SUN Yingsha of China.

The Japanese pair saw off Korean counterparts, JEON Jihee and YANG Haeun in a five-game thriller (12-10, 3-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6).

“Today’s match was a game of patience. The communication and relationship between me and Mima is great and we support each other. Last year I was only able to achieve 2ndplace in the Grand Finals. This year I wish to win against the Chinese players and claim the Grand Finals trophy, returning back to Japan with a smile!”Hina Hayata

DAY ONE HEADLINES

With day one drawing to a close, here are the main headlines from Incheon:

  • Unified Korea pair advances in Mixed Doubles event
  • Mima ITO experiences opening round upset
  • XU Xin and LIN Gaoyuan set up epic quarter-finals clash

OPENING DAY REVIEW

Relive all the big talking points from the opening day with the Day 1 Review presented by GoDaddy:

POINT OF DAY 1

Take a look at the Point of Day 1 presented by Stiga:

MATCH REVIEW: CHENG VS ITO

Here’s what CHENG I-Ching had to say after her superb victory over no.4 seed Mima ITO:

NO DRAMAS FOR TEENAGE STAR

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN) will compete in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles event after coming through his Round of 16 encounter with flying colours.

The 15-year-old star needed just five games to see off Germany’s Patrick FRANZISKA in the evening session of play (11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7) and will have the honour of facing Korea Republic’s very own JANG Woojin on Friday.

XU XIN WINS BATTLE OF THE PEN-HOLDERS

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

Top seed and one of the big favourites for the Men’s Singles title in Incheon, XU Xin (CHN) has emerged victorious from his opening round fixture against fellow pen-hold grip player WONG Chun Ting (HKG).

With little separating the two at the start of the match, XU Xin found another level in his game to get the job done in five games (11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-7) and will return to action on Friday evening with LIN Gaoyuan providing the opposition.

BRAVE EFFORT BUT KOREAN HOPEFUL EXITS

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

Fighting with the backing of the home crowd in Incheon but Korea’s LEE Sangsu has missed out on a spot in the Men’s Singles quarter-finals.

The no.11 seed played out an intense affair with LIN Gaoyuan featuring a nail-biting game six, but there could only be one winner with plaudits going to the man from China (11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 16-14).

ITO CRASHES OUT!

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

STOP THE PRESSES! Mima ITO (JPN) has fallen at the first hurdle of the Women’s Singles competition in Incheon.

Seeded five positions above her opening round opponent but for ITO it was not to be with CHENG I-Ching (TPE) gaining the upper-hand (11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7) to seal her place in the quarter-finals.

DEFENDING CHAMPION HOLDS ON

(Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)

Women’s Singles champion last year in Astana but in Incheon CHEN Meng avoided a shock opening round exit by the skin of her teeth!

The no.6 seed held off a late comeback charge from fellow Chinese star CHEN Xingtong in a seven game thriller (11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5) to keep her spot in the competition.

CHINESE DUO CRUISE THROUGH

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

China’s CHEN Xingtong and SUN Yingsha have cruised through to the Women’s Doubles semi-finals in Incheon following a commanding 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s NG Wing Nam and SOO Wai Yam Minnie (11-6, 11-4, 11-6).

Next up for the successful partnership is a duel with fellow compatriots CHEN Ke and WANG Manyu, meaning that China will have a presence at the final hurdle no matter the outcome!

JAPAN’S ROAD-RUNNERS RUSH INTO SEMIS

2015 champions in Lisbon, 2016 runners-up in Doha and 2017 champions again in Astana, Men’s Doubles partners Masataka MORIZONO and Yuya OSHIMA are aiming for further silverware in Incheon!

The pair made light work of Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, in straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-3).

DIFFICULT START BUT HOME FAVOURITES PROGRESS

(Photo: Rémy Gros)

The host nation will be represented in the semi-finals of the Women’s Doubles draw with the Korean duo of JEON Jihee and YANG Haeun emerging successful in their opening contest.

Recovering from a slow start the no.3 seeds accounted for Hong Kong’s DOO Hoi Kem and LEE Ho Ching across four games (7-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-9) to set up a penultimate round meeting with Japanese top seeds Hina HAYATA and Mima ITO.

UNIFIED KOREA OFF TO A FLYER!

Unified Korea pair JANG Woojin (KOR) and CHA Hyo Sim (PRK) have got the home crowd buzzing following their victory over Maharu YOSHIMURA and Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN) in five hard-fought games (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5) full of super intense rallies!

Here’s a look at what the mood is like from inside the Namdong Gymnasium!

The Unified Korea pair will face fellow Koreans, LIM Jonghoon and YANG Haeun in Friday’s semi-finals. What a match that will be!

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals

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