China’s fast-rising Women’s Singles prospect Gao Fangjie was the sole non-Korean winner at the Gwangju Victor Korea Masters 2017, winning her debut international title yesterday.
Gao (featured image), who was runner-up at the Tahoe China Open (Superseries) last month, continued to impress as she successively brought down fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand), Korean qualifier Bae Ji Won and eighth seed Pornpawee Chochuwong (Thailand) to enter the semi-finals.
There she faced compatriot Wang Zhiyi, who had stunned home favourite Sung Ji Hyun 27-25 7-21 21-12 in the quarter-finals. Gao made it past her 21-17 21-8 and went on to beat Korea’s Lee Jang Mi 21-19 21-5 in the final.
Lee Jang Mi had earlier beaten World Junior champion Gregoria Mariska (Indonesia) in the quarter-finals and second seed Nitchaon Jindapol (Thailand) in the semi-finals.
Korea swept the other four titles, with Seo Seung Jae helping himself to two titles.
Jeon Hyeok Jin claiming the Men’s Singles over compatriot Kim Min Ki 21-17 19-21 21-12.
Kim Min Ki had earlier shocked compatriot and top seed Son Wan Ho 21-12 21-12 in the third round.
The big news at the Korea Masters was the return of Korean Men’s Doubles great Lee Yong Dae with regular partner Yoo Yeon Seong. Lee Yong Dae had retired after last year’s Victor Korea Open in September.
The pair, playing their first tournament together in over a year, struggled in the early rounds before losing a close three-setter to compatriots Jung Jae Wook/Kim Gi Jung 16-21 21-11 21-19. Jung and Kim however came up short in the final, to compatriots Kim Won Ho/Seo Seung Jae, 21-15 21-16.
Danisa Denmark Open champions Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, back together after playing with different partners last month, captured the Women’s Doubles title without dropping a game.
They were tested in the final by compatriots Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong, but took the title with a close 21-18 23-21 result.
Seo Seung Jae and Kim Ha Na won the first title of the day, the Mixed Doubles. In what turned out to be the closest final of the day, Seo/Kim held off a spirited challenge from top seeds Choi Solgyu/Chae Yoo Jung to prevail 17-21 21-13 21-18.