28 Aug 2016

Vital to Japanese success at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Championships on home soil in Tokyo, Yuka Ishigaki used her defensive skills to good effect to win the Women’s Singles title at the Asarel 2016 ITTF World Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte on Sunday 28th August.

The no.2 seed, at the final hurdle she beat colleague, Misaki Morizono, the no.5 seed, to arrest to the title; impressively the 27 year old won in straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 14-12).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Success and although the result was as seeding advised; arguably the outcome was somewhat of a surprise.

Member of the same national team, Misaki Morizono is no doubt accustomed to the various changes in spin that Yuka Ishigaki imparts on the table tennis ball; equally on their one previous meeting on the ITTF World Tour, the verdict had gone in favour of Misaki Morizono.

They met at the semi-final stage of the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Belarus Open in Minsk when Misaki Morizono had prevailed in five games.

Three finals, three times runner up

Alas for Misaki Morizono in Minsk, it was defeat at the final hurdle, she was beaten by compatriot Sayaka Hirano, a fate she had also experienced earlier in the year when losing in the title deciding match in Australia to Feng Tianwei.

Now the defeat in Panagyurishte means that it is three ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles finals for Misaki Morizono, three defeats.

“I’m playing in this tournament for a second year; this year was more amazing because I won the Women’s Singles competition. It wasn’t easy at all; especially the final game in the final match. I feel very happy right now.” Yuka Ishigaki after beating Misaki Morizono

Second win

Meanwhile, for Yuka Ishigaki, it was her second win in three finals; in 2010 she won in Cairo beating Turkey’s Hu Melek in the final, earlier this year in Australia she was beaten in the title deciding contest by colleague, Hina Hayata.

Notably, Yuka Ishigaki becomes the third defensive player to win an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title this year; earlier China’s Wu Yang won in Germany, Kim Song I on home soil in Pyongyang.

One again Japan

In Panagyurishte it was the 30th time that Japan has provided the winner of an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles event; Yuka Ishigaki is one of 15 Japanese players to achieve the feat.

Ai Fukuhara, Sayaka Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa remain the most successful, each has won five times.

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World Tour Bulgaria Open Misaki Morizono Yuka Ishigaki