by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success and there was an air of revenge; the previous week at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Hybiome Austrian Open, Choi Hyojoo had suffered defeat by a similar margin when the pair had met at the quarter-final stage (11-9, 13-11, 11-13, 11-9).
Agonisingly for Choi Hyojoo, Sakura Mori progressed to win the title; arguably even more excruciating was the fact that it was the first time that she had ever lost to Sakura Mori.
Prior to the meeting in Linz, the two had met in the ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles events in Spain in 2015 and earlier this year Germany, as well as at the quarter-final stage if the Under 21 Women’s Singles competition in Slovenia. On each of those three meetings, Choi Hyojoo had succeeded.
Victory for Choi Hyojoo meant that she collected the third Under 21 ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title of her career in her fifth final and maintained the record of always beating a Japanese adversary when emerging successful.
In 2015 in Croatia she overcame Hitomi Sato before later in the year in Bulgaria accounting for Miu Hirano in the gold medal contest; her two defeats at the final hurdle came last year in the Czech Republic, when losing to Singapore’s Lin Ye and some five months ago in June, when experiencing defeat at the hands of Japan’s Yui Hamamoto.
It is the 34th time that Korea had celebrated success in an ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles event, Choi Hyojoo being one of 14 players to achieve the distinction.
Furthermore, the win assures Choi Hyojoo of a top seven finish on the ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles Standing; the requirement needed to gain an invitation to the Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in December in Doha.