by Ian Marshall, Editor
Hard fought contests were the order of the day as play came to a conclusion in the men’s singles event; full distance matches enthralling the avid spectators.
Qiu Dang, the no.20 seed, after accounting for Denmark’s Anders Lind, the no.24 seed (8-11, 11-5, 4-11, 13-15, 11-2, 11-6, 12-10), overcame Ukraine qualifier, Yevhen Pryshchepa (7-11, 12-10, 11-2, 5-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-5) to secure the title.
“I’m really happy that I won the match, I was leading 3-1, 8-6 and I thought I would win but then he played better and I got more nervous. At the end it was an open match. I’m happy that I won. During the previous rounds I had match points against me, so winning this tournament, I’m really happy that mentally I could get back and win.” Qiu Dang
Earlier in the penultimate round Yevhen Pryshchepa had ended the hopes of the host nation; he overcame João Geraldo, the no.32 seed (7-11, 12-10, 11-2, 5-11, 14-12, 6-11, 11-5).
On the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament, it was:
- a first men’s singles title for Qiu Dang
- a first appearance in a men’s singles final for a player from Ukraine
A surprise men’s singles winner, the success gained by Kasumi Ishikawa in the women’s singles event was as anticipated. The top seed, in the final she beat colleague, Saki Shibata, the no.7 seed (11-6, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9), after in the penultimate round having ousted Miyu Kato, the no.4 seed and also from Japan (5-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8).
“Finally I won but I had to be patient especially in the early rounds. I kept thinking I had to win, I had to do this. The tournament helps me prepare for the Olympics, so it was really important. As it is Hungary next week, I am glad that I managed to win here in Portugal.” Kasumi Ishikawa
In the counterpart semi-final, Saki Shibata had ended the progress of Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 11-5, 12-10).
Notably it was:
- for Kasumi Ishikawa her second ITTF Challenge Series women’s singles title; last December she won in Canada. Additionally she has nine such ITTF World Tour women’s singles titles to her name
- for Saki Shibata it was her eighth appearance in an ITTF Challenge Series women’s singles final; she has now been the winner five times, the runner up on three occasions
Silver for Saki Shibata but earlier in the day it had been gold; partnering Satsuki Odo, the duo won the women’s doubles event. The top seeds, in the final, they beat Thailand’s Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut (11-5, 11-4, 11-8).
Thus for Saki Shibata and Satsuki Odo:
- it was consecutive wins, last week they won in Spain
- a record seventh ITTF Challenge Series women’s doubles title was secured; they have now won seven times in nine finals
- they now head the all-time list; they move one ahead of colleagues, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato who have six wins
- it was revenge, in 2018 in Thailand, their first ever final as a pair, Saki Shibata and Satsuki Odo lost to Orawan Paranang and Suthasini Sawettabut, the only other ITTF Challenge Series final for the Thai duo a pair.
Host nation success
Success for visitors to Portugal, there was also success for the host nation, the no.6 seeds, Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo beat Korea Republic qualifiers, Baek Kwangil and Park Chan-Hyeok to win the men’s doubles title (12-10, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5).
Thus the outcome was:
- a second such success for Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo, in 2019 they had won in Serbia
- a second consecutive runners up spot for Baek Kwangil and Park Chan-Hyeok, the previous week they had experienced the same fate in Spain
Earlier in the week, Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Japan’s Maki Shiomi had won the respective under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles titles; the French partnership formed by Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan had emerged the mixed doubles champions.