Ovtcharov, Akula claim singles titles at WTT Contender Lagos

After his second visit to Nigeria, German international Dimitrij Ovtcharov as well as a regular face in Nigeria, India’s Sreeja Akula claimed the 2024 WTT Contender Lagos singles titles at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The final day of the tournament witnessed a day of thrilling table tennis as champions were crowned in the Women’s Singles, Men’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, and Men’s Doubles categories at WTT Contender Lagos 2024.

Joining the WTT Series event calendar in 2023, this is the second-ever WTT Contender event to be staged in Nigeria, hosting talent from the world over for a week of table tennis action.

In the Women’s Singles final, Indian Akula and Ding Yijie of China faced off in what was both players’ first WTT Series singles final appearance.

Akula, with two WTT Feeder Series titles to her name, and Ding, a rising star with four WTT Youth Series titles, battled fiercely for the champion title.

Akula’s remarkable journey to the final saw her save three match points in the semifinals, demonstrating her resilience and determination.

Ding, making her WTT Series debut, aimed to become the lowest-ranked player to win a WTT Series Women’s Singles title. Ultimately, Akula emerged victorious with a 4-1 win (10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6), adding a double chapter to her growing legacy, after her Women’s Doubles win today.

The Men’s Singles final featured an all-German clash between Ovtcharov and Ricardo Walther.

Ovtcharov, a seasoned competitor and 2023 finalist, was determined to claim his first WTT Series singles title since 2021.

Although Walther, making his first appearance at WTT Contender Lagos, sought to make his mark with a victory, Ovtcharov triumphed over Walther at 4-1 (11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6), securing his second WTT Series singles title.

In the Women’s Doubles final, the Indian duo of Sreeja Akula and Archana Girish Kamath squared off against compatriots Yashaswini Ghorpade and Diya Parag Chitale. Both pairs showcased exceptional teamwork and skill, but it was Akula and Kamath who clinched the title with a 3-0 victory (11-9, 11-6, 12-10) in their first international final together.

The Men’s Doubles final saw a battle between the Nigerian pair of Azeez Solanke and Olajide Omotayo and the Indian duo of Harmeet Desai and Manav Vikash Thakkar. Solanke and Omotayo, playing together for the second time in an international event, faced the experienced pair of Desai and Thakkar, who have been playing together since 2016.

Desai and Thakkar came out on top with a 3-0 win (11-8, 11-9, 11-8) marking their first Men’s Doubles title as a duo.

In the Mixed Doubles final yesterday, Shin Yubin and Lim Jonghoon of Korea Republic reigned as champions in their third WTT Series Mixed Doubles title together in 2024, defeating Xu Huiyao and Luo Jiecheng of China 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-4).

Lagos has proven yet again to be an exceptional host for the WTT Series, with fans treated to incredibly competitive table tennis action. The event featured 32-draw Men’s and Women’s Singles, 16-draw Men’s and Women’s Doubles, and 16-draw Mixed Doubles, all vying for a share of the $80,000 prize pool and ITTF World Ranking points.

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