by Simon Daish
As they headed into the final, Ito and Hamamoto had already met on seven occasions at world ranking events. Mima Ito had come out on top in two out of her three most recent encounters with Yui Hamamoto and after Ito stormed to the Austrian Open title her overall record of victories over Yui Hamamoto has now extended to six wins.
On paper Ito was the favourite for the crown, sitting 13 spots above her opponent in the tournament seeding list in second place. While sport quite often sees the so-called underdog contestant defy the odds and cause an upset that was not the case in Linz – Hamamoto was unable to find her footing in the match.
Ito had been in impressive form earlier in the day with her comfortable victory against Honoka Hashimoto in the last four. The 16-year-old was able to reach an even greater level in her play in the final against Hamamoto, taking games one and two with ease to move 2-0 up on the scoreboard.
The third end arrived and a poor start from Hamamoto saw her fall 6-0 behind, and while she then followed up with five consecutive points it wasn’t enough to prevent Ito from extending her lead in games to 3-0.
Hamamoto had claimed some major scalps leading up to the final, having eliminated the top seed Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei in the Round of 16 before defeating the No.10 seed Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon in the quarter-finals. However, 15th seed Hamamoto wasn’t able to add Ito to the list of upsets with game four going to the second seed as the category drew to a close (11-4, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7).
Mima Ito now moves to 519 points on the World Tour standings table, which will no doubt be sufficient to earn an invitation for the forthcoming ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in December.
Sunday 13th November: Women’s Singles – Main Draw