(by Steve Hopkins)
With many of the highest ranked players taking a break in this window between the Olympics (this Summer in Tokyo) and the World Team Championships (next month in Houston), the Asian Championships was missing a few big names. Like the European Championships a week ago, there is some opportunity for younger players and second tier players to shine.
In Men’s singles, the top seeds were Korea’s Woojin Jang and Singapore’s Wong Chun Ting. Woojin Jang had a great start, crusing to the Semifinal with a series of 3-0 wins. Wong Chun Ting lost in his first match 3-0 to Shunsuke Togami, a 20 year old Japanese player currently ranked just outside the Top 100. That upset actually launched a pretty amazing run with Togami winning 5 matches against higher ranked players on his way to the Semifinal.
In the Semis, Jang Woojin fell to Chuang Chih Yuan of Taipei 3-1. In the other Semifinal, Sangsu Lee ended Togami’s run by a 3-1 margin. The Final was narrowly won by Sangsu Lee. Chuang won the opening game 12-10, Lee won the next two games easily, Chuang evened the match at 2-2, and then Lee pulled away in the final game for an 11-8 win. A narrow 3-2 victory and the Asian Championship title goes to Butterfly Player Sangsu Lee.
The Women’s title went to Japan’s Hina Hayata, who topped Korea’s Yubin Shin 3-1. In Men’s Teams, Korea won – defeating Taipei 3-1. The Women’s Team title went to Japan, who won their matches 3-1 over India, 3-0 over Hong Kong, and 3-0 over Korea. Japan won Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles and Korea won Women’s Doubles.
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