by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
On both occasions the now 16 year old started play very much as an outsider for title; in Warsaw she was the no.11 seed; in Philadelphia, the no.5 seed.
Impressively in Poland she beat Li Jiao of the Netherlands at the semi-final stage prior to securing the top prize by ousting Singapore’s Yu Mengyu; likewise at the Seamaster Women’s World Cup, she caused Singapore heartaches by defeating Feng Tianwei before overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching to claim gold.
Facing a younger opponent may cause nerves amongst more senior players, not wishing to suffer the ignominy of losing to a young fledgling. However, the true professional should surely be able to enter the fray with the view that every player is a player; whether from the geriatric selection or from the kindergarten.
Surely that is the strength of Miu Hirano. She possesses a certain innocence as she approaches the duel in prospect. She welcomes with the next time she can play table tennis, looking forward to another half hour or so of enjoyment.
Does the pedigree of the adversary ever enter her head? She enjoys the experience of playing table tennis, it’s that simple and that is what makes her such a formidable adversary.
Equally, she is prepared to try some new ideas. There is no sense of inhibition; in the final in Philadelphia, her variety of services forced errors time and again from Cheng I-Ching.
The approach is positive, the behaviour exemplary; when won the last point to secure gold at the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup; there was a raise of the left hand, a smile towards her coach and a handshake with her adversary and officials before returning courtside.
Miu Hirano behaved professionally; that is worth a vote.
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