Though the Koreans won in three of the finals, China’s world no. 35 Zhao Qihao claimed the ultimate gold; defeating third seeded German star to take Gold.
The final day of action at the World Table Tennis Contender Lagos served everything that had been promised and displayed since day one.
There were exhilarating displays, fantastic spins, and techniques, not the least drama and upsets.
The Doubles Final
The games served off with the women’s doubles final which saw some wonderful bat to bat battle in the first two sets as Chinese duo Fan Siqi and Liu Weishan looked like causing an upset after winning the first set 7-1. The Korean pair of Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin had different thoughts, as they came back to win three straight sets 14-12, 11-8, 11-6 to take the gold home with a deserved 3-1 win.
In the men’s doubles final, Korean duo Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon were clinical from the start, in what was an obvious win incoming, winning two straight sets 12-10, 11-4, before succumbing to Chinese duo Yuan Licen and Xiang Peng 7-11 in the third set
The Koreans roared back in the fourth set like the wounded lions they were at that point and duly delivered the knockout punch winning the set 11-8, to be crowned champions of the inaugural WTT Contender Lagos men’s doubles.
Thrilling Singles Finals
The singles finals began with the women’s singles as the Koreans made it three-peat at the inaugural WTT Contender Lagos as world no. 20 Shin Yubin showed why she was the top seed.
She fended off the challenge from China’s Li Yake, who had caused upsets along the line to get into the finals.
It was a dicey first set as the lowly rated Chinese raced into the lead, taking the first set 11-4, before the top seed Korean proved her mettle by winning three straight sets 11-9, 11-5, 11-2, lost the fifth set 8-11 but, recovered in the sixth set 11-6, to win gold.
It ended 4-2 in the women’s singles and it was was indeed a final deserving of an inaugural edition.
The grand finale of the WTT Contender Lagos ended with the prevalent scenario that had been witnessed across boards since the second day of the qualifying round.
The tournament of upsets, as many had dubbed it, brought another adrenaline rush in the men’s singles final as world no. 35 Zhou Qihao raced into a three nil 11-7, 11-6, 11-8, straight sets lead against world no. 14 German, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, in what was an incoming upset. It is the fastest ever scoreline lead in a WTT Contender.
The German and fan favorite could not recover fully from that despite winning the fourth set 11-7 in a show of strength. It was just not his day, as the Korean Zhou completed the upset by winning the fifth set 11-7, ending the game as a contest and sending the pocket of Chinese defeated players, turned fans into ecstasy.
The 4-1 win in the men’s singles final was not only Zhou Qihao but, for the Chinese contingent who had almost given all hope of winning gold on the day, after failing thrice against their ruthless Asian counterparts from Korea.
The WTT Contender Lagos, promised much fun and indeed delivered, with some shocking upsets, and world-class display from all the participants.
The only downside for the organisers and home fans would be not seeing the potentials of the players from the home front being fulfilled to a large extent, but there is still the WTT Contender Lagos to prepare for next year.