(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour, Hang Seng Hong Kong Open concluded on Sunday. The Men’s Singles event ran very much as expected with the top two seeds reaching the Final, and the top seed winning. In the top half of the draw, all four Chinese players who made the draw won their opening match. In fact, those four (Gaoyuan, Te, Chuqin, and Jingkun) were undefeated against others – only losing to each other. It was Lin Gaoyuan, the tournament’s top seed, who advanced. Mattias Falck was the only non-Chinese player to advance to the Quarterfinals (where he lost 4-0 to Liang Jingkun).
Harimoto and Boll were the top seeds in the bottom half of the draw. Harimoto lost the first two games of his opening match against Jon Persson, but recovered to win the match 4-2. He then dominated from that point forward beating Quadri 4-0, Mizutani 4-1, and Zhou 4-1. Boll never really gained momentum in the tournament. He needed seven games to beat Sharath Kamal Achanta, then needed seven games to overcome Maharu Yoshimura before losing 4-3 to China’s Zhou Yu.
The all-Butterfly final featured Butterfly sponsored players Tomokazu Harimoto and Lin Gaoyuan. Early in the match, Harimoto was up 2-1, but Lin Gaoyuan ran off three games in a row to close out the match and claim the title. Lin Gaoyuan over Tomokazu Harimoto 4-2 (3, -7, -6, 6, 9, 7).
The top seed in the Women’s Singles event fell in the Round of 16 (China’s Wang Yidi upset Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa 4-1). Wang Yidi entered the event with a World Ranking of No. 46 and had to win two qualifiers just to make it to the main draw. Once there, however, she made the most of her time with wins over each of the top three seeds on her way to claiming the title. In fact, Yidi seemed to get better as she moved forward, losing two games in the Quarterfinals, but then winning the semifinals and finals with a perfect 4-0 in each. The bottom half of the draw was dominated by the two top seeds in that half, Miu Hirano and Mima Ito. Those two met in the Semifinals with Mima Ito winning 4-2. However, the story of the day was Wang Yidi, and she continued her domination in the Final nearly doubling the score in each of the four games – winning at 3, 7, 5, and 6.
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