Top two seeds fall, Croatian win repeated in emphatic manner
Six titles, three apiece on this year’s ITTF World Tour but for the leading pairs in the Women’s Doubles event at the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, it was the end of the road on the morning of Saturday 10th December.
Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the top seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Hong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.5 seeds (13-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7); for Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the no.2 seeds, Japanese compatriots, Yui Hamamoto and Hina Hayata, the no.7 seeds, ended progress (8-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 12-10, 11-6).
The top seeds, status clearly favoured Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun but history suggested that the situation may be considered quite the reverse.
Some seven months ago the pairs met in the final in Croatia, Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching emerged the winners in a quite strange full distance five games contest; the games they won were all by the minimal two point margin, the games they lost were by a minimal seven points (3-11, 14-12, 14-12, 4-11, 11-9).
Certainly Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching had learned from the experience, two close opening games were secured before they asserted their authority. Furthermore, they took no chances; leading 10-7 in the fourth game coach Zhang Rui, called “Time Out”.
“Today, we tried to play faster than in Croatia, I think that made it more difficult for Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun”, Doo Hoi Kem
It seemed somewhat over precautionary but who am I to question Zhang Rui? A right handed pen-hold grip player, during her career she won no less the eleven ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles, ten with Tie Yana, one with Lin Ling.
“We tried to stay close to the table; at the Time Out in the fourth game, Zhang Rui told us to keep our focus, keep concentrating and believe in ourselves”, Lee Ho Ching
Meanwhile, in the counterpart Women’s Doubles contest it was a question of familiarity and patience; hard work, long points with the top spin duo of Yui Hamamoto and Hina Hayata prevailing against the backspin artistry of Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato.
The final of the Women’s Doubles event is scheduled for 1.30pm (local) time on Sunday 11th December; Doha is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.