Pressure mounts, Korean duo responds
Respond when the pressure mounts; in the opening round of the Men’s Doubles event at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Doha, the Korean partnership formed by Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu endorsed the fact that in a tense situation they could find answers.
Two days later, at the semi-final stage, on Saturday 10th December, they did exactly the same again.
On the opening day of action, the no.2 seeds, they had beaten the Japanese combination of Koki Niwa and Maharu Yoshimura, the no.7 seeds, in a quite titanic duel; they won by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 16-14, 14-12, 9-11, 16-14).
Against the Russian combination of Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paikov, the no.3 seeds, the seventh game was not quite so dramatic but nevertheless it was needed and it was on the proverbial knife-edge.
There were two crucial stages in the contest, in the sixth game Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paikov led 10-9; the next point was awarded to Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu. However, Alexey Liventsov explained to the umpire that the ball had broken; the referee was called and it was decided, as the ball had broken during the rally and thus the point should be replayed.
The Russian duo duly won the game and went ahead 3-1 in the seventh; no controversy but the next crucial stage. Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu won the next seven points; Alexey Liventsov and Mikhail Paikov reduced the arrears to 8-6, the Koreans called “Time Out”, won the next point and reasserted their authority.
“I was very nervous in the match, especially after we missed a lot of balls and we were losing; then Youngsik playing excellently and we managed to level the score. At three-two, losing 9-10, the ball broke, we thought the ball broke after the rally, so we should be given the point but Liventsov and Paikov said that the ball broke during the rally and that point shouldn’t be counted. The umpire and referee decided that we had to replay that point, we are fine with that decision.” Lee Sangs
Success after losing the opening game; it was the same for Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the top seeds and defending champions. They lost the opening game against Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Tang Peng, the no.5 seed but that was the only reverse, a five games win was posted (7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9).
The final of the Men’s Doubles event will follow the Women’s Doubles final on Sunday 11th December; the Women’s Doubles final is scheduled to start at 1.30pm (local) time; Doha is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.