Milestone, Korean Leaves Bulgaria with Record Breaking Three Titles
2015 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open
Courtesy of ITTF
A new champion crowned, a new name of the roll of honor; that fact was assured even before the Men’s Singles final at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in the town of Panagyurishte had begun.
It was assured before Russia’s Evgenyi Chikishev, the umpire, spun the disc to decide who would serve first.
Neither Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira, nor Korea’s Kim Donghyun had ever previously competed in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles final.
The player to gain the privilege of joining the names of those who have mounted the top step of the podium since Kong Lingui waved to the English public in 1995, in the town of Kettering, a similar size to Panagyurishte, was that Kim Donghyun.
Currently listed at no.41 on the Men’s World Rankings, the 20-year-old Korean, the no.4 seed, upset the pecking order to overcome Japan’s 24-year-old Kenta Matsudaira, the no.3 seed, in a tension packet contest that brought five days of play in the Asarel Arena to a close.
Maintaining his nerve at the crucial stages, Kim Donghyun emerged successful in seven games (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8).
“The last point at 11-8; the relief, winning, tremendous”, said Kim Donghyun. “I can’t really describe how I feel.”
Relief, it was also a quite incredible achievement; victory meant that he completed a hat-trick of titles.
One day earlier he had won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title and with Cho Eonrae the Men’s Doubles to complete a unique achievement; it is a feat no other player has achieved.
Highlights from the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open
“I have a very good relationship with Cho Eonrae, he helped me great deal”, added Kim Donghyun. The help from Cho Eonrae came in two forms, as a doubles partner and as coach sitting courtside giving advice.
Furthermore, at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event, Kim Donghyun had beaten Cho Eonrae.
“In the final, I just tried to focus all my attention on the match and not think of anything else”, added Kim Donghyun. “During the match I tried to be positive when returning service; that was crucial.”
Kenta Matsudaira employed his trademark squat serving technique time and time again but Kim Donghyun held the answers.
It was a fitting end to the tournament, a hard fought final between two aspiring young men; a first for Bulgaria, a first for Panagyurishte, a first for the Asarel Arena, a first for the ITTF World Tour, a first for Kim Donghyun, a day to remember.
Full results and coverage of the 2015 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open is available at ITTF.