by Ian Marshall, Editor
He appears in both the men’s doubles and men’s singles finals; in the former he partners Liang Jingkun, the pair never having won an ITTF World Tour men’s doubles title as a partnership, a situation that is of course quite the opposite of their opponents.
Arguably, Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon were top combination last year. In addition to success at the Grand Finals, they also won at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinhan Korea Open.
The men’s doubles gold medal match completed; later in the day it is the Grand Finals revisited, Lin Gaoyuan faces Tomokazu Harimoto in the men’s singles final. Securing the title, avenging the defeat in Incheon is the major task for Lin Gaoyuan but there is one other.
Prior to winning the women’s singles title at the London 2012 Olympic Games and then the world title the following year in Paris, colleague Li Xiaoxia gained the unwanted name of “miss number two”. In the final of the women’s singles event at the World Championships, she had lost to Guo Yue in 2007 in Zagreb and to Ding Ning in 2011 in Rotterdam.
It is somewhat the same for Lin Gaoyuan. At the World Junior Championships in 2009 in Cartagena de Indias, he reached the semi-final stage; then in the next three, 2010 in Bratislava, 2011 in Manama and 2012 in Hyderabad, he was the runner up.
Now, since losing to Tomokazu Harimoto in Incheon last December, in every open international open tournament he has entered he has reached the men’s singles final. On the Seamaster ITTF World Tour he won in Hungary but in both Qatar and China he was beaten by the machine-like precision of colleague Ma Long.
On the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Series in Portugal, he lost to Liang Jingkun; five finals, four silver medals.
The question is in Hong Kong: can “can mister number two”, a position that reflects his world ranking, become “mister number one” but he is already “mister number one”!
He is the only player ever to reach the men’s singles final in each of the first four ITTF World Tour tournaments of the year.