TABLE TENNIS: Harimoto, 15, wins World Tour Grand Finals!

Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto (Photo: ITTFWorld)

The ITTF World Tour Grand Finals saw history in Incheon (KOR) as 15-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto became the youngest player to ever win the men’s Singles title, and a South Korea/North Korea pair made it to the Mixed Doubles finals.

Harimoto has been steadily climbing this season and in the final, he was brilliant against China’s Gaoyuan Lin, losing the second game, then winning three straight sets and ending a three-year strangehold on the me’s Singles title by Japan, 11-4, 13-15, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9.

The Mixed Doubles team of Woojin Jang (KOR) and Hyo Sim Cha (PRK) won two tight matches to reach the final, but ran into a very hot Hong Kong duo of Chun Ting Wong and Hoi Kem Doo and lost, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4. Still, it was a considerable achievement for both, as the combined Korean effort is always news, and Wong and Doo won the first-ever Mixed Doubles title in the Grand Finals.

China’s Meng Chen defended her title in the women’s Singles final against countrywoman Zhuoija He; in fact, all four of the semifinalists were from China!

Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito won the women’s Doubles for the first time together, but it was the second Grand Finals won for each of them individually.

This was the first time since 2014 that Chinese entries had not won at least two titles. Summaries:

ITTF World Tour Grand Finals
Incheon (KOR) ~ 13-16 December 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Singles: 1. Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN); 2. Gaoyuan Lin (CHN); 3. Hugo Calderano (BRA) and Jun Mizutani (JPN). Semis: Harimoto d. Calderano, 4-0; Lin d. Mizutani, 4-0. Final: Harimoto d. Lin, 4-1.

Men’s Doubles: 1. Woojin Jang/Jonghoon Lim (KOR); 2. Kwan Kit Ho/Chun Ting Wong (HKG); 3. Youngsik Jeoung/Sangsu Lee (KOR) and Masataka Morizono/Yuya Oshima (JPN). Semis: Jang/Lim d. Jeoung/Lee, 3-1; Ho/Wong d. Morizono/Oshima, 3-1. Final: Jang/Lim d. Ho/Wong, 3-2.

Women’s Singles: 1. Meng Chen (CHN); 2. Zhuojia He (CHN); 3. Ning Ding (CHN) and Yuling Zhu (CHN). Semis: Chen d. Zhu, 4-2; He d. Ding, 4-2. Final: Chen d. He, 4-1.

Women’s Doubles: 1. Hina Hayata/Mima Ito (JPN); 2. Xingtong Chen/Yingsha Sun (CHN); 3. Jihee Jeon/Haeun Yang (KOR) and Ke Chen/Manyu Wang (CHN). Semis: Hayata/Ito d. Jeon/Yang, 3-2; Chen/Sun d. Chen/Wang, 3-2. Final: Hayata/Ito d. Chen/Sun, 3-0.

Mixed Doubles: 1. Chun Ting Wong/Hoi Kem Doo (HKG); 2. Woojin Jang (KOR)/Hyo Sim Cha (PRK); 3. Masataka Morizono/Mima Ito (JPN) and Jonghoon Lim/Haeun Yang (KOR). Semis: Wong/Doo d. Morizono/Ito, 3-2; Jang/Cha d. Lim/Yang, 3-2. Final: Wong/Doo d. Jang/Cha, 3-0.