Stefan FEGERL caused one of the biggest upsets of the yearPhoto: Elena ELISEEVA
Austrian player clinched silver at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Polish Open in Warsaw
Vital to Austrian success at the recently concluded LIEBHERR 2015 ITTF-European Championships in the Russian city of Ekaterinburg; Stefan FEGERL caused one of the biggest upsets of the year, at the semi-final stage of the Men's Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Polish Open in Warsaw. The no.23 seed, he beat China's ZHANG Jike, the no.4 seed and reigning Olympic champion in six games (17-15, 6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 15-13) to scale heights never previously attained. He was close to repeat the success in the final. Against FAN Zhendong the two stood level at 7-all in the deciding seventh game, but Chinese player secured the next four points and victory to claim the fifth ITTF World Tour Men's Singles title of his career in five final appearances.
In the final of the Women's Singles event, having lost the opening two games in an all-Chinese affair, DING Ning, the top seed, was forced to withdraw from proceedings with a shoulder injury (12-10, 11-5, 11-0, 11-).
It is the first time this year that the 27 year old has ventured beyond the third round of an ITTF World Tour Men's Singles event and only the second time in his whole career that he has reached the penultimate round. On both occasions in Hungary; in 2014 he was beaten at the semi-final stage by Germany's Steffen MENGEL, earlier this year in the third round he lost to Portugal's João GERALDO.
"I've never thought I could win against ZHANG", said Stefan FEGERL. "After the first game I've believed that it was possible to beat him today; my target was maybe I could win one game, suddenly, I had to change my plans!"
In second match FAN Zhendong, the no.3 seed, accounted for XU Xin, the no.2 seed, in the all China clash; as with Stefan FEGERL, he won in six games (12-10, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6).
The no.8 seeds and arguably the favourites, local heroes Jakub DYJAS and Daniel GORAK suffered defeat in the final of the Men's Doubles event; they were beaten in five games by the non-seeded Swedish partnership of Kristian KARLSSON and Mattias KARLSSON (11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).
Тhey had met some three weeks earlier in the second round of the Men's Doubles event at the Liebherr 2015 ITTF–European Championships in Ekaterinburg. On that occasion, as in Warsaw, the Swedes had won in four games (11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5). In Ekaterinburg, Kristian KARLSSON and Mattias KARLSSON concluded matters with the bronze medal; at the semi-final stage, they lost to the eventual winners, Austria's Stefan FEGERL and Portugal's João MONTEIRO.
Second seeds, China's DING Ning and ZHU Yuling won the Women's Doubles title. At the final hurdle they beat the top seeded Singaporean partnership of FENG Tianwei and YU Mengyu (11-9, 11-3, 11-7). A second success with ZHU Yuling; DING Ning has now claimed a total of 14 ITTF World Tour Women's Doubles titles.
In addition to ZHU Yuling, she has won on seven occasions with LIU Shiwen, four times with LI Xiaoxia and once with GUO Yan. Likewise, ZHU Yuling has enjoyed success with other partners; previously she has won three times with CHEN Meng and once with Liu Shiwen.
The host nation's Jakub DYJAS and Japan's Miu HIRANO won the respective Under 21 Men's Singles and Under 21 Women's Singles titles. In the final Jakub DYJAS, the no.4 seed, accounted for surprise finalist, Hong Hong's LAM Siu Hang (3-11, 11-7, 11-8); Miu HIRANO, the top seed, defeated colleague Hitomi SATO, the no.2 seed, at the final hurdle in a full distance five games contest (11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7).
In the semis DYJAS beat Sweden's Anton KÄLLBERG, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-9).