Hong Kong table tennis veteran Tie Yana lays down Olympics gauntlet with Hungarian Open title win
Veteran Tie Yana showed she would still be a force to be reckoned with at the Olympic Games this summer when she won the Hungarian Open in Budapest on Sunday.
The 36-year-old 15th seed, who has represented Hong Kong at the past three Olympic Games, lifted her ninth world tour title with a gruelling seven-game victory over 10th seed Yang Ha-eun, of South Korea. She won by the narrowest of margins, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9.
Tie’s victory also set a record as the longest gap between wins in women’s singles in the history of ITTF Word Tour.
Prior to this tournament, Tie’s most recent title win was in 2010, also at the Hungarian Open in Budaors, about 10km west of Budapest. On that occasion, she beat Romania’s Elizabeth Samara to clinch gold. Six years later, she won again.
“I’m so pleased to have won as this competition took a great deal out of me," said Tie, who had lost to Yang in their most recent meeting. “Before the tournament I had not been well, so this victory gives me extra pleasure.
“It was a tight match, she fought and surprised me many times. The next stop is Germany, where I hope I can reach the final as well.”
The duo last met in the first round at the 2015 China Open in Chengdu and the duel was just as close with Yang securing victory after taking the deciding game after deuce, 11-3, 4-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 4-11, 12-10.
A maximum three players will be chosen for Rio and Tie will face fierce competition from teammates Jiang Huajun and up-and-comers Lee Ho-ching and Doo Hoi-kem.
Tie and Jiang also reached the doubles final in Budapest, losing to Yang and Jeon Ji-hee11-8, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5.
The German Open starts on Wednesday in Berlin.