Tournaments

18 May 2019

Follow the action from Zagreb on Saturday 18th May with updates from the third and final day at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open.

A day when in the women's doubles event history was possible; it was not to happen.

Reaction

Men’s Singles: Semi-Final and Final

Anton Källberg, Kristian Karlsson and Tomislav Pucar responded following the conclusion of play in Zagreb

“It was a special feeling and at the same time a bit weird to play a final match against Kristian; especially because we are not just fellow countrymen, we are good friends. On the other hand, it was also strange for both of us. We know each other perfectly well. We train together, live together practically, play for the same club. Kristian played a perfect tournament but I have to admit that I was quite good too. Obviously I did, otherwise I would not have won”. Anton Källberg

“I am very happy with my matches in Zagreb. I played the best in the semi-final against Pucar, who is a great player. To beat him 4-1 as I did, you have to be at your best. I did not succeed in the final. It was great to play in front of so many fans in a very well organized tournament”. Kristian Karlsson

“I had some chances. The first game at 9-9 I had two services. In the second game, I had a 10-9 lead and served at game ball. A bit of a wrong decision by myself on the service. I did not take advantage of the situation. Simply, Kristian was better, did not make any mistakes and he deserved to win.” Tomislav Pucar

Milestone for Anton Källberg

Men’s Singles: Final

A first appearance in a men’s singles final on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series, Anton Källberg emerged successful in the all-Swedish final.

Players well-known to each other, both play for Borussia Düsseldorf in Germany but the outcome was nevertheless not to be anticipated. The no.32 seed, the lowest in the order of those receiving direct main draw entries, he accounted for Kristian Karlsson, the no.2 seed, and likewise competing in his first such final, to secure the title. He prevailed in five games (11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-4).

Runners up spot the eventual outcome for Kristian Karlsson (Photo: Robert Valai)
First final, second ever

Women’s Singles: Final

Success for Miyuu Kihara in the women’s singles final at the age of 14 years and 278 days; a landmark win and her first ever such success.

She becomes the second young player ever to win a women’s singles title either on the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament. Colleague Mima Ito remains the youngest, she was 14 years and 153 days old when she won at the 2015 ITTF World Tour German Open on Sunday 22nd March.

Miyuu Kihara goes ahead of China’s Guo Yue who was 15 years and 76 days old when at the 2003 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, she succeeded on Sunday 21st September.

The presentation ceremony for the women’s singles event (left to right) Nikola Dragas, Miyu Kato, Miyuu Kihara, Martin Tino Casl (Photo: Robert Valai)
Miyuu Kihara surprise winner

Women’s Singles: Final

An all Japanese final, Miyuu Kihara, the no.19 seed, upset the order of merit to win the women’s singles title in Zagreb; at the final hurdle she beat Miyu Kato, the no.5 seed, in a gripping seven games encounter (13-11, 11-6, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8).

Crucially in the seventh game Miyuu Kihara made the better start. She established a 4-1 lead, Miyu Kato called “Time Out” but at the change of ends Miyuu Kihara maintained her three point lead at 5-2; Miyu Kato reduced the deficit to one point at 7-6 prompting Miyuu Kato to call “Time Out”. Miyu Kato levelled but never secured a lead. At 10-8 Miyuu Kihara held two match points. She converted at the first attempt.

First title

Men’s Doubles: Final

Required to qualify, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda beat Belgium’s Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet, the top seeds (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8) to secure their first ever men’s doubles title at an ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour tournament, whether together or apart.

Crucially in the fifth game after leading 5-3 at the change of ends, they lost the next three points; they called “Time Out”, returned, won the next five points, before at the third time of asking securing the verdict.

Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck remain to this day the only Belgium pair ever to win a men’s doubles event at either an ITTF Challenge Series or ITTF World Tour tournament; they succeeded in 2015 in the Philippines.

Martin Allegro (left) and (right) Florent Lambiet beaten by Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda (Photo: Robert Valai)
Second in succession but no third

Women’s Doubles: Final

Winners the previous week in Slovenia, Miyuu Kato and Miyu Nagasaki, the no.5 seeds, repeated their success in Zagreb; at the final hurdle they beat colleagues, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the top seeds, in four games (11-5, 14-12, 7-11, 11-8).

Successful in both 2017 and 2018 it meant that Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato fell one step short of winning three in succession and becoming the first pair in a women’s doubles event at an open international tournament to achieve the feat since the ITTF World Tour began in 1996.

Just one step short for Honoka Hashimoto (left) and (right) Hitomi Sato (Photo: Robert Valai)
All Swedish affair

Men’s Singles: Final

Semi-final success for Anton Källberg and Kristian Karlsson; it is the first time either has reached a men’s singles final on either the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament.

Overall it is the fourth all-Swedish men’s singles final since the ITTF World Tour commenced in 1996; in that year in Belgrade Thomas Von Scheele was beaten in the final in Belgrade by Jan-Ove Waldner and in Boras by Jörgen Persson. In 2012 in Helsingborg, Hampus Nordberg overcame Andrea Tornkvist to seal the title.

Croatian hopes end

Men’s Singles: Semi-Finals

The hopes of the host nation in the men’s singles event ended at the semi-final stage; Tomislav Pucar, the no.9 seed, was beaten by Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.2 seed (11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5).

Notably in all competitions, it was the fourth time the pair had met; it was the fourth time Kristian Karlsson had prevailed.

Tomislav Pucar once again found Kristian Karlsson his nemesis (Photo: Robert Valai)
Yet again Japan but first for Miyuu Kihara

Women’s Singles: Final

Success for Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Kato means that taking into account both the ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series, it is the 22nd time there has been an all Japanese women’s singles final.

For Miyu Kato, it is her third such appearance, she won in 2018 in Slovenia and earlier this year in Spain; for Kiyuu Kihara, only 14 years old it is her first such venture.

Little to choose

Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals

True to the best Asian style of play, fast close to the table counter top spin play was they order of the day; the question posed was as to who would prevail at the critical moments.

The decision went in favour of Miyu Kato, the no.5 seed, in the second all Japanese  women’s singles semi-final clash of the day; she beat Satsuki Odo, the no.14 seed, in six games (11-8, 17-15, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Whoops, missed; disappointment for Satsuki Odo (Photo: Robert Valai)
Top seed stunned as Anton Källberg reaches final

Men’s Singles: Semi-Finals

Sweden’s Anton Källberg is through to his first men’s singles final at an ITTF Challenge Series event after posting a major upset.

The no.32 seeded player demonstrated great resolve to see off the top seed from Chinese Taipei, Chuang Chih-Yuan in a seven-game spectacle (11-3, 4-11, 11-3, 4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-5).

Action kicks off with thrilling contest

Women’s Singles: Semi-Finals

Starting off the final day in Zagreb was an exciting fixture between two Japanese competitors as Miyu Nagasaki met Miyuu Kihara in the first of two women’s singles semi-finals.

The early momentum was in Miyu Nagasaki’s favour as the no.8 seed moved two games ahead but a fantastic comeback effort followed as no.19 seed, Miyuu Kihara, chalked up four game successes in a row to earn her place in the final (8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10).

Miyu Nagasaki beaten by Miyuu Kihara (Photo: Robert Valai)
Final Day

The concluding day at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open has arrived– take a detailed look at the day’s schedule below:

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Challenge Series 2019 Croatia Open Zagreb
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