2022 All Japan Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo brought plenty of surprising results, including the disappointing performance by Tomokazu Harimoto in the singles event.
Harimoto, who is currently ranked number four in the World, won the gold medal in the mixed doubles event and the silver medal in the doubles event. However, his performance in the singles event was rather disappointing, since he lost 2-4 to Maharu Yoshimura in the 6th round of this tournament. The 28-year old Yoshimura is currently ranked 89th in the World Ranking. Harimoto has still to find his luck in the local arena to once again enjoy success in the singles event as he did back in 2018.
While Harimoto had his struggles getting into the semi-finals and securing himself at least a bronze medal, it was a successful run for the eventual champion Shunsuke Togami, as well as for Kenta Matsuidaira, Koki Niwa, and Maharu Yoshimura.
In the semi-finals, Togami faced Niwa and gave him no chance, winning 4-0 and securing his place in the final. The other semi-final that was played between Matsuidaira and Yoshimura was one to enjoy for the fans. It took seven sets to find out the second finalist. Matsudaira started the game well, winning the first two sets, but Yoshimura pulled out the next two. Then both won a set each, and everything went into the decisive seventh set. There Matsudaira took an early lead and held it up until the final point, winning the decider 11-3. He reached the final for the first time since 2009.
The final did not come out as a one-sided spectacle, but Togami still played more aggressively, especially, on the serve receive. Up until the fifth set, the game looked even, but then Togami stepped up his game and did everything right to win the game 4-2. It was his first All Japan Championships final appearance, and it turned out brilliantly. Togami also won the gold medal in the doubles event together with Yukiya Uda.
After the final match, Togami expressed his great desire and motivation to earn his place in the Japan squad when there will come time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. If Togami adds to this local success solid results on the professional circuit, he might achieve his goal.
2022 ALL JAPAN CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALISTS
Shunsuke Togami/Yukiya Uda
Tomokazu Harimoto/Masataka Morizono
Tomoya Fujimura/Kaiki Matsushita
Yuya Oshima/Kenta Tazoe
Tomokazu Harimoto/Hina Hayata
Maharu Yoshimura/Rika Suzuki
Yukiya Uda/Miyuu Kihara
Kenta Tazoe/Miwa Harimoto