18 Aug 2019

The first titles decided at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open; on Saturday 17th August in Panagyurishte, it was differing fortunes for Japan and especially for Jun Mizutani.

He partnered Mima Ito to mixed doubles gold but as the day approached a conclusion, he experienced a somewhat surprise men’s singles defeat.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Likewise for colleagues Yukiya Uda and Kazuhiro Yoshimura there was disappointment in the men’s doubles event, as there was in the women’s doubles for Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata; both had to settle for runners up spots.

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

…………Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.10 seed, brought the quarter-final round to a nail-biting conclusion; he beat Jun Mizutani, the no.4 seed, by the very narrowest of seven game margins (8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10, 11-9, 4-11, 13-11).

…………Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov was the biggest name to fall; he was beaten by Chinese qualifier, Zhao Zihao (11-6, 13-11, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9).

…………Portugal’s Marcos Freitas continued his outstanding run; he accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.15 seed (3-11, 11-2, 11-3, 11-13, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9).

…………Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the top seed, emerged the one player not to be at the receiving end of a shock defeat; he beat colleague Takuya Jin (11-7, 11-6, 14-12, 7-11, 13-11).

…………At the semi-final stage Tomokazu Harimoto meets Marcos Freitas, Quadri Aruna opposes Zhao Zihao.

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

…………China’s He Zhuojia, the no.5 seed, ended the ambitions of Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed and aiming to win for a third time in Panagyurishte; she prevailed in four straight games (12-10, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4).

…………Sadness for Japan, there was more; Hitomi Sato, the no.7 seed, was forced to withdraw when due to face China’s Wu Yang.

…………Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, balanced the books for Japan; she accounted for Singapore’s Yu Mengyu (11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8).

…………China’s Chen Xingtong, the no.11 seed, was in the express lane; she overcame Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee on four straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-2, 11-4).

…………In the penultimate round He Zhuojia meets Wu Yang, Mima Ito confronts Chen Xingtong.

Men’s Doubles: Final

…………Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu, the no.2 seeds, claimed the title at the expense of Yukiya Uda and Maharu Yoshimura (4-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8).

…………Victory for the duo from the Korea Republic meant a second consecutive ITTF World Tour men’s doubles title and a sixth overall as a pairing; in July they won in Australia.

Women’s Doubles: Final

…………China’s Gu Yuting and Mu Zi beat Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata, the no.5 seeds (11-7, 11-6, 11-5), to reserve the top step of the podium.

It was for Gu Yuting and Mu Zi their second such career success as a partnership; in 2018, they won in Japan.

Mixed Doubles: Final

…………Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito, the no.7 seeds, claimed gold; in the final they overcame the defensive skills of China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang.

…………It was the first ever ITTF World Tour mixed doubles title for Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito; the previous month they had been the runners up in Australia.

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World Tour 2019 Asarel Bulgaria Open Jun Mizutani