Bangkok, Dec 14, 2014: Japan has clinched both the singles titles at the spectacular US$1,000,000 GAC Group 2014 World Tour Grand Finals in front of a capacity crowd in Bangkok, Thailand.
Jun MIZUTANI claimed his second ITTF Grand Finals crown to match his teammate Kasumi ISHIKAWA’s golden performance earlier in the day.
The 2014 edition will always be remembered for its unprecedented sports presentation, and being the most unpredictable and hotly tournaments in recent memory, with seven out of the eight male and female semi-finalists coming from different countries.
The men’s final continued the battle of Asia verse Europe, as all the matches from the quarterfinals onwards by chance featured a player from Asia and Europe.
It was Asia who prevailed in the end, as Jun MIZUTANI recorded a 14-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-3, 6-11, 12-14, 11-6 victory over Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER). The match was one of the best matches of 2014, with the entire crowd hanging on every point.
The 25 year old finally had the best nerves to defeat the London 2012 bronze medalist to secure an emotional title.
“The first two games were very close, I was totally focused”, said MIZUTANI, who just had his first child earlier in the year. “Losing the sixth game after taking the ‘Time Out’, was a blow, it was very difficult to recover mentally.”
“It’s always close between Dimitrij and myself”, continued MIZUTANI. “I won the title four years ago in Seoul but I think winning him has been a greater achievement; also it’s much more money!”
Kasumi ISHIKAWA won the biggest title of her life, by defeating SEO Hyowon (KOR) 11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9 in a one sided women’s final.
ISHIKAWA lost the first game of her first match in the tournament against her teammate ISHIGAKI Yuka, but managed to win the next 16 games in a row, which clinched her the title and a US$100,000 prize cheque.
ISHIKAWA beat ISHIGAKI 4-1 in the first round, Ai FUKUHARA (JPN) 4-0 in the quarter finals, the surprise of the tournament Georgina POTA (HUN) 4-0 in the semi finals before her scintillating 4-0 win against SEO Hyowon in the final.
“I am so happy to win this big and prestigious title, I can’t believe I won,” stated a beaming ISHIKAWA.
“I came into the event with no expectations, which took the pressure off me. I am going to spend my big cheque on a nice long holiday to a tropical beach somewhere”, concluded the 21 year old.
The two singles title for Japan make it four overall, with the 14 year old pair of Mima ITO & HIRANO claiming gold in the women’s doubles, and Asuka MACHI winning the men’s under 21 event.
The men’s doubles trophy went home to Korea, after CHO Eonrae & SEO Hyundeok were victorious, and CHEN Szu-Yu from Chinese Taipei was the women’s under 21 champion.
The GAC Group 2014 World Tour Grand Final concludes the 2014 table tennis season, and what a season it has been. The 2015 table tennis season kicks off with the World Team Cup in Dubai on 8-11 January 2015. —- ITTF