Lausanne, August 26, 2013: The most recent stop on the GAC Group ITTF World Tour, the 2013 Czech Open in Olomouc held from 21 to 25 August, has portrayed just how much table tennis is truly a global game.
The 8 semi-finalists in the women’s and men’s singles were remarkably from 7 different countries: Belarus, Japan, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Poland, with a further 4 countries: Russia, Czech Republic, India and Austria being represented in the quarter-finals.
Belarus and Japan were the 2 final countries left standing with defenders Viktoria PAVLOVICH and Masato SHIONO claiming victory in the respective women’s and men’s singles events.
It was the first time in ITTF World Tours’ 18 year history that defenders have won both the women’s and men’s singles title, which is a sign that this niche style is making a comeback!
The women’s singles final was played out between two ladies who have been in recent years very much the leading names in Europe, with number one seed Viktoria PAVLOVICH eventually beat LI Jiao of the Netherlands, the number two seed, to clinch gold in the women’s final 9-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7.
Masato SHIONO proved that his win at the recent Japan Open, where he made the main draw through qualifications and whilst he was ranked 188 in the world, was no fluke.
The 27-year-old showed no mercy for Spain’s Carlos MACHADO in the final, winning four straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-2) to move one step closer to booking himself a dream ticket to the 1 million dollars World Tour Grand Final.
In the other events, Poland’s unseeded pair of 22-year-old Pawel FERTIKOWSKI and 21-year-old Robert FLORAS won the Men’s Doubles title, the Netherlands combination of Linda CREEMERS and LI Jiao won the Women’s Doubles gold, and the Japanese pair of Masaki YOSHIDA and Yui HAMAMOTO won the respective under 21 boy’s and girl’s singles crowns. The GAC Group ITTF World Tour’s next stop is the 2013 Belarus Open in Minsk on 12-15 September 2013. —- ITTF
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