Shidong keeps his red-hot form going, enters final

March 05, 2023 12:18 am | Updated 04:45 pm IST - Panaji:

Spirited display: Lebrun overcame Jang in the quarterfinals, but went down to Shidong in the last-four game. 

Spirited display: Lebrun overcame Jang in the quarterfinals, but went down to Shidong in the last-four game.  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The teenage trio of Lin Shidong, Felix Lebrun and Miwa Harimoto emerged the showstoppers on the penultimate day of the WTT Star Contender Goa 2023.

It turned out to be a super Saturday at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium with the GenNext continuing its stellar show right through the week. Shidong, 17, kept his sensational week going to make short work of 16-year-old Lebrun’s challenge in straight games in the semifinals to set up an all-Chinese men’s singles final.

Miwa, the 14-year-old from Japan, suffered a fate similar to her elder brother Tomokazu. She went down in the women’s singles semifinals after putting on a spirited show against top seed Wang Yidi. Miwa led 2-1 but eventually Wang used all her experience to stave off the challenge in 84 minutes and book a final face-off against unseeded Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei.

Shidong will take on compatriot Liang Jingkun, who halted crowd favourite Tomokazu’s march in four games. Liang’s fierce power, especially with his backhand winners, left a packed auditorium spellbound.

Despite matching Shidong’s speed in the semifinals, the bespectacled Lebrun overcame Korea’s Woojin Jang in the quarterfinals in what was arguably the match of the day. Lebrun, with his penhold grip, was involved in sensational rallies against his fancied opponent as the match went right down the wire.

Trailing 8-10 in the decider, Lebrun forced Jang into a mistake with his serve before hitting an amazing crosscourt forehand topspin winner off the third ball. He went on to save another match-point before closing the match and receiving a standing ovation. Miwa, meanwhile, turned out to be twice unlucky as she and her partner Shunsuke Togami lost to Jang and Jihee Jeon in the mixed doubles final.

The results:

Men (semifinals): Liang Jingkun (Chn) bt Tomokazu Harimoto (Jpn) 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5; Lin Shidong (Chn) bt Felix Lebrun (Fra) 11-7, 11-5, 11-4.

Women (semifinals): Cheng I-Ching (Tpe) bt Miu Hirano (Jpn) 12-10, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5; Wang Yidi (Chn) bt Miwa Harimoto (Jpn) 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8.

Mixed doubles (final): Woojin Jang & Jihee Jeon (Kor) bt Shunsuke Togami & Miwa Harimoto (Jpn) 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7.

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