Lily Zhang and Cho Daeseong swept to the singles titles as the WTT Feeder Manchester came to a breathtaking conclusion in front of hundreds of spectators.

Top seed Zhang (pictured above, photo by Pawel Meryn) of the USA defeated Poland’s Natalia Bajor in the Women’s Singles final, while seventh seed Cho, of South Korea, was victorious against Elias Ranefur of Sweden in the Men’s Singles.

Zhang’s final against Bajor hinged on the second game. Bajor (WR 61), who had never been behind in taking the first 11-9, held two game points at 10-8 and more at 11-10, 12-11 and 13-12 but each time Zhang (WR 37) saved them. When she had her own chance at 14-13, she took it and the momentum swung to such a degree that she romped through the third 11-3.

The fourth was more of a battle, though Zhang was only down at 1-0 and only level on two occasions as she claimed the title on her second match point.

Lily Zhang celebrates (picture by Pawel Meryn)

In the semi-finals, Zhang saw off Debora Vivarelli (WR 139), who had come through the qualifying rounds and who defeated England’s Sophie Earley 3-2 in the last 16.

Vivarelli continued her good form as she won the first 11-8, but Zhang, competing in England for the first time since the London 2012 Olympics, did not panic and once she had won the second 11-9 kept on a roll to take the third 11-3.

The fourth saw the lead change hands a couple of times, but the American was first to hit 10 points, bringing up two match points. Although Vivarelli saved those with positive play, she could not halt Zhang’s path to the final as the next match point was taken.

Bajor, who lost the first two points of the match to experienced opponent Huang Yi-Hua (WR 74) of Chinese Taipei, but thereafter dominated to win it 5, 4, 5.

The final match of the event was the Men’s Singles and Cho (WR 70) was the heavy favourite, having won every previous match 3-0, including his quarter-final against second seed Anders Lind of Denmark.

His opponent Ranefur (WR 286) had knocked out Paul Drinkhall in the quarter-finals and had come through qualifying, as well as the main draw, to reach the final.

Cho Daeseong (picture by Pawel Meryn)

He probably got as close as anyone to Cho, but not close enough as he lost the first 11-8 and the second 11-7, though he did possibly see an opening when he led the second 4-0 and 6-4.

The only time Cho got a bit tight was when he brought up four match points and saw three of them saved, either side of his timeout. But the fourth and final time was the final blow and Cho fully deserved his victory as the tournament’s outstanding player.

Ranefur’s semi-final victory over Italy’s Matteo Mutti gave him a nice problem – he needed to change a flight which was scheduled for before the final.

Ranefur fully merited his place in the last two as he held Mutti (WR 190) at arm’s length, particularly in the third, in which he never trailed.

Cho (WR 70) never looked troubled by sixth seed Martin Allegro (WR 64) of Belgium, winning 4, 4, 6.


Women’s Singles

Natalia Bajor (POL) bt Huang Yi-Hua (TPE) 3-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-5)
Lily Zhang (USA) bt Debora Vivarelli (ITA) 3-1 (8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 12-10)

Zhang bt Bajor 3-1 (9-11, 15-13, 11-3, 11-9)

Men’s Singles

Elias Ranefur (SWE) bt Matteo Mutti (ITA) 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-8)
Cho Daeseong (KOR) bt Martin Allegro (BEL) 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-6)

Cho bt Ranefur 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-9)