The 35-year old Croatian international had an inspiring run in Doha, winning the first singles title in his career on the professional circuit.
The tournament in Qatar brought a lot of interesting results and dramatic losses, including the painful semi-finals withdrawal of Kristian Karlsson due to an injury he suffered during the match against Andrej Gacina. Many underdogs proved to be more consistent against higher-ranked players. For example, the Chinese international Xue Fei (World Ranked 139th) knocked out Darko Jorgic (WR 11), then also the American Kanak Jha (WR 39). Another Chinese, Zhou Qihao (WR 99) won the matches against Tiago Apolonia (WR 59), Marcos Freitas (WR 28), and the German star Patrick Franziska (WR 13).
Both of the finalists also had a memorable journey to the final. 25-year old Korean Lim Jong-hoon was once ranked 16th in the World Rankings, but currently, he holds the 47th position. The Korean managed to get wins against Simon Gauzy (WR 20), Liam Pitchford (WR 20), Lin Yun-ju (WR 6), and Quadri Aruna (WR 14) on the way to the final. Still, he could not cope with the Croatian Andrej Gacina. Jong-hoon had a great start, winning the first two sets, but the experienced Croatian made an impressive comeback, winning four sets in a row and securing the trophy of WTT Star Contender Doha.
The 35-year old Gacina was ranked 18th in the world during his peak. The Croatian also won the European Championships title in doubles event back in 2011. He had some success on the club level, winning the league titles in Belgium, Russia, and Poland, but on the professional circuit, Gacina had only one doubles title on his resume. His successful run in Qatar is a great inspiration for the late-bloomers – players who did not earn that many accolades early in their careers. Gacina proved that even after the age of 30, there can be reached some new heights.
The doubles event of this tournament proved to be a success for the German duo – Benedikt Duda and Dang Qiu. 2022 has been solid for the Germans, and they already won the bronze medals in the previous two tournaments. In Dona, they managed to add a title to their resume after overcoming the Taiwanese duo Lin Yun-ju and Liao Chen-Ting in an exciting five-set thriller.
WTT STAR CONTENDER DOHA