Brazilian Hugo CALDERANO’s dream run at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open has come to an end, being defeated by FAN Zhendong in the much-anticipated final in Doha, Qatar.
The world’s eyes were on the final, after the Brazilian beat world number one Timo BOLL (GER), world number 12 Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN) and world number four LIN Gaoyuan (CHN) on the march to the final.
Despite having several game points in the first two games, it was not to be, as the 21-year-old Chinese superstar powered away to win 13-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 to ensure there would be no fairytale finish for CALDERANO.
FAN Zhendong’s victory means that on 1 April 2018, he will be announced as world number one player for the first time.
An excited FAN Zhendong stated after the match: “It is an amazing feeling to become the word number one, it has always been a big dream of mine. I hope I can keep this position for a very long time. Hugo has a very strong backhand, I had to change the placement of the ball a great deal. In the first two games I was too cautious, too passive; after winning the second game I played in a more positive manner.”
The women’s final was a battle between the old and new generation of the Chinese National Team. The next big thing in table tennis WANG Manyu got off to a rapid start winning the first two games and putting the elder LIU Shiwen under pressure. LIU Shiwen was able to keep her cool and used all her experience to win the next 4 games to win her third Qatar Open 8-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 after having to qualify for the main draw.
The former world number one stated: “I have played seven matches in order to win this tournament; I am very happy to win here. I must express my gratitude to Qatar; this is a magnificent venue. I’ll be back next year.”
The battle for the women’s doubles title was an all Chinese affair. CHEN Xingtong & SUN Yingsha has a blistering start to hold a 1-0 advantage. This was as close as they got to the title, as CHEN Ke & WANG Manyu won the next 3 games to clinch the title 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-4.
The men’s doubles final was between World Champions FAN Zhendong & XU Xin from China and the Japanese pair of Jun MIZUTANI & Yuya OSHIMA. In a pulsating final, it was the Chinese pair who were victorious 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 13-11.
The world’s best table tennis players now head to the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Bremen on 23-25 March 2018 as they continue to fight to qualify for the one million dollars World Tour Grand Finals.