05 May 2019

Follow the latest updates from the final day of play, Sunday 5th May, at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open in Belgrade action commencing at 10.00 am local time.

Note also there is change to the finals' schedule; the men's doubles will commence the itinerary followed by men's singles, women's singles and women's doubles.

Hina Hayata claims third title of year

Women’s Singles: Final

Japan’s Hina Hayata, the top seed, beat Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seed, to reserve the top step of the podium, a contest that was arguably closer than the overall score-line may suggest, only one of the five games (11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9) was not decided by the minimal two point margin.

“I am very happy. The final was quite a challenge for me, she was a good rival, I am proud of my win. Everything in Belgrade at the Serbia Open was super and I hope to come here next year. My next challenge is the China Open.” Hina Hayata

Thus Hina Hayata won her third Challenge series women’s singles title of the year; earlier she had succeeded in Portugal and Oman. She needs one more to match the record of colleague Saki Shibata who last year won four times. She prevailed in Belgium, Belarus, Croatia and Spain.

More gold for Hina Hayata (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam look back

Women’s Doubles: Final

A landmark win, Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam look back

“We were very focused on our game ,especially because they were very strong opponent. We are lucky in a way, we were very nervous, when we calmed down, we started to play better, to make less mistakes and we won.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam

“I am happy because our win, but I am not satisfied with my result in singles. I expected to play in the final.” Ng Wing Nam

In the women’s singles event Ng Wing Nam had suffered a quarter-final defeat at the hands of Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5).

Eventual success for top seeds

Women’s Doubles: Final

Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seeds prevailed, they beat Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.2 seeds, to secure the title (12-10, 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7).

Success but not without moments of concern. In the fourth game they led 9-5 but then did not win another point, electing for “Time Out” at 9-7. In the decisive fifth they trailed 1-4, prior to securing the next four points to lead 5-4. The Hungarians levelled but never regained the lead; from 8-7 Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai moved to 10-7, converting at the first attempt.

Ng Wing Nam partnered Minnie Soo Wai Yam to women’s doubles gold (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Champion reacts

Men’s Singles: Final

Following quite scintillating display, Paul Drinkhall reflected

“He started very well. I felt that I started well but obviously it was not enough. In the second game I was leading 9-7 but I lost. The third game close, he had two game points for a 3-0 lead, eventually I won the game. After that I felt that momentum was in my favour, I turned things around in my favor.

The last game was probably one of the best games I have ever played, it was a very good time to do that! I have a bit of a time to rest, to spent some time with my family; after that I will play in the Hong Kong Open.” Paul Drinkhall

Paul Drinkhall recovers, hits top form

Men’s Singles: Final

Trailing two games to nil, a close third game secured from that moment onwards England’s Paul Drinkhall never looked back, he was on fire. He conceded a mere six further points to beat French qualifier, Abdel-Kader Salifou (8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-3, 11-2, 11-1) to reserve the top step of the podium.

Success and a second such title for Paul Drinkhall, in 2014 he emerged successful on the ITTF World Tour in Spain, on that occasion beating Japan’s Masataka Morizono in the final.

Abdel-Kader Salifou hit by Hurricane Paul (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo respond

Men’s Doubles: Final

It was a delighted Portuguese duo immediately after the final

“We really played a good final match, we watched same recorded games of our opponents and prepared our tactics. We deserve to win this match and this tournament. We prepared thoroughly for our semi-final match against Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, because we lost 3-0 against them at Portugal open this year, so for us it was a question of sport revenge for that loss. We started to play together in the Portugal Open, it was good experience, so we decided to compete in another tournament together and we won here in Serbia.” João Geraldo

“We started this tournament without big expectations, starting from qualification and we won in the end. Our next tournament will be China Open, after that we will decide our future in doubles.” Diogo Carvalho

João Geraldo (left) and (right) Diogo Carvalho en route to gold (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Only second time

Men’s Doubles: Final

Marcos Freitas has enjoyed success with Croatia’s Andrej Gacina but it is only the second time ever that an all Portuguese pair has won an ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour men’s doubles title.

The one other occasion was on the ITTF World Tout in São Paulo when in the final at the Brazil Open Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro beat Korea Republic’s Kim Taehoon and Lee Jinkwon.

Again Portugal excels

Men’s Doubles: Final

Just over one week ago Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro stood on the third step of the podium in Budapest; bronze medallists in the men’s doubles event at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships. In Belgrade, Portugal once again displayed their men’s doubles expertise.

Required to qualify, Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo reserved the top step of the podium; they beat the host nation’s Marko Jevtovic and  Zsolt Peto and  the no.8 seeds (11-5, 11-3, 13-11) to claim the title. However, in the third game they did endure nervous moments; they led 10-6, took a “Time Out” at 10-8, before holding a further match point at 11-10 prior to eventually converting.

Disappointment for Marko Jevtovic (foreground) and (rear) Zsolt Peto (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Forehand power counts

Men’s Singles: Semi-Final

Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou, required to qualify, beat Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador to book his place in the men’s singles final; the crucial stage of the contest was the fourth game secured by the Frenchman by the narrowest of margins to level matters.

The powerful forehand ever more potent, especially from the backhand corner, Abdel-Kader Salifou asserted his authority to win in six games (11-13, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7).

“My rival led 2-o in games, I just tried to focus on my game, I changed tactics and started to play better. From the third game it was a close I completely changed result, when I was leading 3-2 in games, he started to make mistakes, to be nervous, I closed the game and qualified for the final. I played Drinkhall last year in the Qatar Open, I won that match but that match has nothing to do with this in Belgrade. In Qatar I was losing 2-0 in that match and 6-1 in the third but one point changed everything, I was lucky and I won that match. In the final I hope that I will play a good match. I will do my best to win this match. I am on a waiting list for Slovenia open, I still wait for a call. For sure, I know that I will play in Thailand.” Abdel-Kader Salifou

Semi-final sadness but a landmark tournament for Brian Afanador (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
End of the road for Barbora Balazova

Women’s Singles: Semi-Final

Barbora Balazova is out of the running in the race for the women’s singles title, falling to Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam at the penultimate hurdle. The no.4 seeded Slovak representative succumbed to a 4-0 defeat, losing out by just three points in each game (11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8).

“Both of us adapted to each other’s game very well so the question was who would create the situation to attack first. I think that I made less mistakes then her and my defence was better. I have played Hina twice in junior competitions but Hina is now a completely different player, she has improved a lot. I am prepared to face a totally new opponent. I am prepared to play my best game; that is my only plan right now.” Minnie Soo Wai Yam

Barbora Balazova beaten by Minnie Soo Wai Yam (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Englishman closes in

Men’s Singles: Semi-Final

Paul Drinkhall is through to his first-ever ITTF Challenge Series final, coming out on top in a tense seven-game men’s singles semi-final.

Trailing by a 2-3 margin the no.12 seeded English player bounced back, winning the two games on the trot to beat France’s Andrea Landrieu 4-3 (11-2, 11-3, 8-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-4, 11-5).

A brave effort but defeat for Andrea Landrieu (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Convincing display from top seed

Women’s Singles: Semi-Final

Japan’s Hina Hayata will contest the women’s singles final after successfully negotiating the opening fixture of the day in Belgrade.

Taking on one of the European continent’s finest defensive players in Polina Mikhailova top seed Hayata showed her class, defeating the no.5 seed from Russia by a commanding 4-0 score-line (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-8).

Hina Hayata through to another final (Photo: Vidoje Manojlovic)
Final Day Arrives

The closing day of action at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open has arrived – take a detailed look at the day’s schedule below:

Relive Day Three

Re-examine the standout moments from Day Three in Belgrade with our highlights article:

Belgrade highlights day three: contrasting fortunes

Challenge Series 2019 Seamaster Serbia Open Belgrade

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