18 Aug 2019

Follow all the thrills from final day of play, Sunday 18th August, as the men's singles and women's singles titles are decided at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open.

A day of action beckons in Panagyurishte.

Top seeded place justified

Men’s Singles: Final

Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto justified his top seeded position; in the title deciding contest he beat China’s Zhao Zihao in six games (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 13-11, 13-15, 11-4).

The 16 year old emerged the one player in the tournament who was able to match the speed of Zhao Zihao. Answering the fast attacking play of his athletic adversary, creating angles he excelled. In addition he proved most adept in the vital area of receiving service.

One wondered in the fifth game as to whether a window of opportunity had opened for Zhao Zhihao; he saved two match points, before on his third game point securing success. The window was quickly closed, Tomokazu Harimoto dominated the sixth game and thus collected his third career ITTF World Tour men’s singles title. Previously he had won in 2017 in the Czech Republic and the following year on home soil in Japan.

Consistency prevails

Women’s Singles: Final

The model consistency, in an all-Chinese final, Chen Xingtong, the no.11 seed, withstood the fast attacking skills of He Zhuojia, the no.5 seed (11-4, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4) to secure the title.

Arguably the crucial stage of the contest came in the third game; Chen Xingtong established an 8-3 lead, He Zhuojia recovered to level at 10-all but was able to progress no further.

Success for Chen Xingtong meant she collected her fourth ITTF World Tour women’s singles title; in 2017 she won in Hungary and Sweden, in 2018 in Hong Kong.

Had He Zhuojia completed the recovery in the second game, could the outcome have been very different? (Photo: Chris Petkov)
Speed Counts

Men’s Singles: Semi-final

Required to qualify, China’s Zhao Zihao beat Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.10 seed (11-6, 12-14, 11-2, 11-8, 12-10) to book his place in his first ever ITTF World Tour men’s singles final.

A total contrast in styles; the earlier timing, the much shorter quicker strokes of the 22 year old pen-holder when compared with the African star, gave Quadri Aruna minimal time to exert his renowned powerful forehand.

Trailing three games to one and ahead 9-8 in the fifth after having led 7-4, Quadri Aruna called “Time Out”, it was to prove to no avail. Zhao Zihao converted on his second match point, the contest ending in anti-climax as Quadri Aruna served off the end of the table.

Quadri Aruna was given minimal time to execute his long powerful forehand (Photo: Chris Petkov)
Harimoto stops the freight train

Men’s Singles: Semi-final

Japan’s Tamakazu Harimoto dominant display versus Portuguese Marcos Freitas puts him within touching distance of achieving Gold in Bulgaria.

The “Freight Train” as he is fondly called, was put to an abrupt stop by Harimoto, who claimed a straight sets victory. In less than 32 minutes, the Japanese favorite was superbly imperious on the forehand, giving Freitas no room to work with at all (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8).

Tamakazu Harimoto enjoyed that performance!
…and Xingtong goes through!

Women’s Singles: Semi-final

What a match we have just witnessed. The Japan-China duel was at it’s peak with Ito and Xingtong fighting tooth and nail for every point since the first game.

After taking the lead, the two games Ito dropped were unforeseen. Xingtong has been in superb form in this tournament, having accounted for the exits of Miu Hirano and Jeon Jihee previously. Her enigmatic display was on show again, as she came back from 2-3 down to win 4-3 and reach the final (6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7). She will now play compatriot He Zhuojia for Gold.

Mima and Xingtong playing a thriller!

Women’s Singles: Semi-final

Mima Ito and Chen Xingtong are currently involved in a super thriller match, with both athletes having won three games each.

Who will clinch the second spot in the final?

Chen Xingtong is on the hunt for the finals! (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Chinese domestic kicks off final day

Women’s Singles: Semi-finals

China’s He Zhuojia and Wu Yang were involved in the first match of the final day here in Panagyurishte, as the 20-year old Zhuojia had to dig deep to reach the finals (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 13-15, 3-11, 11-8).

Despite her unorthodox but consistent chopping style, Yang could not counter the powerful drives from Zhuojia as she pushed towards a quick 3-0 lead in the match. Coming back with sincere effort, Wu won the fourth and fifth games, but it was in vain as her younger compatriot made sure she wrapped up the match in the sixth.

The main stages conclude today!

Catch all the live scores and upsets, here:

World Tour 2019 Asarel Bulgaria Open 2019 ITTF World Tour Bulgaria Open

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Photo Gallery

Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open

Match Highlights