Asian players halted Europeans at the penultimate dayPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
2015 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Lisbon
All Europeans concluded their journey in Portugal at the penultimate day of the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Lisbon. Tiago APOLONIA and João MONTEIRO reached the final stage of the Men’s Doubles event, whilst in Singles Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Vladimir SAMSONOV and HAN YING suffered in the quarterfinal.
Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus lost against XU Xin of China in six games (12-10, 12-14, 3-11, 12-10, 8-11, 10-12). In the same stage best ranked European player Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany suffered in the match against Worlds no. 1 MA Long. The winner of the prestigious Tennis Star of the Year Award at the ITTF Star Awards Evening staged on Wednesday in the Patio da Gale in Lisbon Portugal, MA beat OVTCHAROV in straight games (11-9, 11-5, 12-10, 11-4).
In the quarterfinal of the Women's Singles Event Germany's HAN Ying had a good start against DING Ning of China but eventually the no.4 seed succeeded (8-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3). At the semi-final stage, JEON Jihee of Korea meets CHEN Meng of China, whilst DING Ning opposes her compatriot ZHU Yuling.
Japan's Masataka MORIZONO and Yuya OSHIMA the no. 5 seeds, inflicted the pain in host nations supporters. They beat Portugal's pairings Tiago APOLONIA and João MONTEIRO in the final of the Men’s Doubles event to clinch the title (11-6, 8-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8).
In the semi final Tiago APOLONIA and João MONTEIRO the no.8 seeds, beat Chinese Taipei’s CHIANG Hung-Chieh and HUANG Sheng-Sheng, the no.2 seeds, in seven games duel (12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 5-11, 16-14); a contest where in the decider the level of play rose by the point.
In that vital game, the Portuguese duo trailed 8-10, before saving a two further match points and spurning two opportunities to gain victory. Success in the seventh game will always be remembered but winning the fourth game was equally pivotal; they trailed 6-9.
DING Ning and ZHU Yuling of China secured the title in the Women's Doubles Event after victory over Japan's Miu HIRANO and Mima ITO in straight games (5-11, 3-11, 9-11, 4-11).