Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov stunned title favourite Tomokazu Harimoto to storm into the men’s final of the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender tournament at the Losail Sports Arena on Friday.
The World No. 12 Ovtcharov rallied back from two games down to beat fifth ranked Harimoto of Japan in an exciting semi-final. The 17-year-old Harimoto had pocketed the first two games but the resilient Ovtcharov took the next three to win 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-3, 11-7.
In today’s final, Ovtcharov will take on Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, who defeated France’s Simon Gauzy 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9 in another semi-final.
The women’s final will see an all-Japanese clash with Mima Ito taking on Hina Hayata. Ito brought an end to Singapore’s Yu Mengyu's brave run in the US$200,000 tournament. The world No. 3 Ito beat 50th ranked Mengyu 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5, 13-11 in the semi-finals.
Mengyu displayed grit to save a game point and take down the opener against Ito, but her 20-year-old opponent had too many tricks up her sleeve with her variety of serves and deceptive spins proving crucial in the following games.
Ito has been one of the most in-form paddlers since the sport restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic, winning bronze medals at the Women's World Cup and International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Finals last year. In another semif-final, Hayata outclassed compatriot Miyuu Kihara 11-6, 11-6, 11-6, 17-15.