Seamaster ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
(by Steve Hopkins/Photo courtesy of ITTF)
The top two seeds in the tournament were Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin. Both advanced to the final easily.
The top half of the draw had 6 Chinese players (out of 16 total players). Fan played four matches in the tournament, and three were against Chinese players. That fourth match was his semifinal win over Mattias Falck of Sweden. Falck upset the fourth seeded Lin Gaoyuan and two other Swedes (Kristian Karlsson and Anton Kallberg) en route to the semifinal.
The third seed was Dimitrij Ovtcharov. He was upset by Zhou Qihao, a lesser known Chinese player who is current ranked No. 246 in the World Rankings. Qihao is just 21 years old, and yet another strong Chinese player just being introduced to the world. Qihao fell to Xu Xin in the semifinal 4-0.
The final was about as close as a 4-1 match can be. Fan won the first game 11-7. The next four games were all tied at 9-9, but Fan won three of those four games to seal the victory. Fan over Xu 4-1 (7, 12, 11, -9, 9).
USA’s Kanak Jha fell just short in the qualifying rounds. He defeated Korea’s Jaehyun An 4-0, then defeated Sweden’s Hampus Soderlund 4-3. However, he fell to England’s Liam Pitchford 4-1, leaving Pitchford to advance to the knock-out round.
Jha also competed in the Under 21 where he defeated Siddhesh Pande of India 3-0, and then defeated Switzerland’s Anders Lind 3-1 before falling to Koyo Kanamitsu of Japan 3-1. Koyo lost to Seungmin Cho of Korea in the Final.
The big story in the Women’s Singles event was rising Japanese star Mima Ito. Ito, who just turned 18 last month, entered the tournament as the 7th seed. She defeated China’s Zhang Qiang 4-1 in the knock-out stage. She then defeated World No. 11 Feng Tianwei of Singapore 4-3 in the round of 16. She then upset two Chinese players to reach the final: World No. 2 Liu Shiwen in the quarterfinals 4-3, and World No. 6 Ding Ning 4-2. In the other half of the draw, World No. 1 Zhu Yuling of China rolled through the early rounds defeating Japanese players Shibata and Kato and defeating Chinese players Liu and Chen.
Mima Ito’s performance in the final was as surprising as the series of upsets she pulled off to reach the final match. Ito won the first game at 3, and never looked back. Mima Ito over World No. 1 Zhu Yuling 4-0 (3, 3, 5, 8).
Watch the final between Xu Xin and Fan Zendong here.
Watch the final between Mima Ito and Zhu Yuling here.