Megumi Abe the surprise Women's Singles champion
Photo By: Steve Hopkins
GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour, US Open, Americas Challenge Series (Click here to access this section)
Never previously progressing to the concluding day of play on the ITTF World Tour, Canadaís Eugene Wang and Japanís Megumi Abe were the surprise winners of the respective Menís and Womenís Singles titles at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour United States Open in Las Vegas on Saturday 6th July.
Occupying the third seeded position in the draw, Eugene Wang accounted for Chinaís Yan Ce at the final hurdle (7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9), a player who had been required to negotiate the qualification stage of proceedings, having in the penultimate round caused an upset by beating Swedenís Jens Lundqvist, the top seed.
A surprise penultimate round victory and the manner of the success was arguably an even greater surprise; Eugene Wang won in four straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5).
At the counterpart semi-final stage, Yang Ce had caused an equally dumbfounding upset.
He recovered from an opening game deficit to beat Croatiaís Zoran Primorac in five games (6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9).
Zoran Primorac, who made his ITTF World Tour debut in 1996 in Bolzano at the Italian Open, the winner of six Menís Singles titles, was playing in 19th semi-final; for Yang Ce, just like Xu Chenhao at the recent GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Japan Open, it was his first semi-final appearance at his first attempt.
Same as Xu Chenhao and Same Fate
Furthermore, just as Xu Chenhao was beaten in the final by Masato Shiono; Yan Ce, who had represented China at the World Junior Championships in Linz in 2005, suffered the same fate.
A surprise Menís Singles winner, the champion in the Womenís Singles event was an even greater surprise.
Not seeded, Megumi Abe struck gold to become a most worthy champion.
On the concluding day of play, she beat the top two seeds to clinch the coveted title. At the semi-final stage she overcame Hungaryís Georgina Pota, the second seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5), before in the final overcoming Romaniaís Elizabeta Samara, the top seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7) to secure the title.
Third Final, Third Silver Medal
In the counterpart semi-final, Elizabeta Samara had overcome the host nationís Lily Zhang, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5) to reach the final of a Womenís Singles event on the ITTF World Tour for the third time in her career.
Also for the Romanian it was her third defeat in the gold medal contest.
At the Joola Hungarian Open in 2010 she had been beaten by Hong Kongís Tie Yana in the final; more recently in November 2012 at the GAC Group Polish Open, she suffered against Chinaís Ding Ning.
Three finals for Elizabeta Samara, for Megumi Abe as for Eugene Wang, it was totally new territory.
The previous best for Megumi Abe was at the GAC Group 2012 Koltsovo ITTF World Tour Russian Open in Ekaterinburg last September when beaten in the second round of the Womenís Singles event by Chinaís Chen Meng.
Meanwhile, for Eugene Wang, his previous best was a quarter-final place in the Menís Singles event at the GAC Group 2012 Slovenian Open in Velenje; he was beaten by Chinaís Ma Long, the player elevated to top of the Menís World Rankings earlier this week.
Gamble Pays Off
In Las Vegas, the gamble to enter the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour United States Open paid off; each left US$ 4,000 the richer for their efforts.
Eugene Wang accounted for Yang Ce in the Men's Singles final