Park Ganghyeon Seals Gold Medal Finish In Dramatic Style

(Photo: ITTF)

The 2018 Belgium Open Men’s Singles gold medal has been awarded to South Korea’s Park Ganghyeon following a dramatic seven game final in De Haan.

Unseeded for the competition, Park Ganghyeon was required to compete in the qualification rounds before successfully negotiating five main draw fixtures to reach the final where Japan’s Yukiya Uda, seeded 20th, awaited him.

Searching for his first Men’s Singles title at senior level Park Ganghyeon made a blistering start to the gold medal match, sailing into a commanding 3-0 lead and looked on course to seal the win in straight games after holding Game Point in the fourth end. However, Yukiya Uda held his nerve and eventually went on to claim game four to keep the tie alive at 3-1.

Yukiya Uda then gave his Korean counterpart plenty to worry about with back-to-back game wins levelling the tie at 3-3 and forcing a decider.

Then in a rather dramatic final game, from three games down Yukiya Uda held Match Point at 9-10 but with an incredible comeback win in sight for the Japanese player there was one final twist as Park Ganghyeon won the next three points in a row to edge over the finish line (14-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10).

“It was a difficult final. I was leading three-nil in games and the Japanese player came back. When I was leading I was thinking too much about winning the tournament. In the seventh game I was calm again and could finish the match. I played incredibly well this week and I am so happy with my first title. I will never forget this tournament. Now I hope to win a major event soon.” – Park Ganghyeon

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