By Neha Aggarwal
Minnie Soo Wai Yam: strategic and agressive
In the morning session of day three, top seed Minnie Soo Wai Yam progressed to the final of the prestigious year end tournament. She beat Romania’s Andreea Dragoman in straight games.
“I think the match was very close. I won every game by a very narrow margin, especially the last game. It was a tough match but I managed to handle the critical points well” explained the ecstatic Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
Despite the score being 0-4, the each game was contested well, Minnie won 11-7, 13-11, 13-11, 13-11.
Minnie Soo Wai Yam kept pinning Andreea to her forehand court, brilliantly exploiting that end. In the fourth game Andrea led 9-10 but Minnie Soo’s lethal forehand attack was too strong for Andreea. The top seed imparted great variations in her topspins and changed the pace of the game often in between rallies. Her strategies seemed to work at all the deuce situations.
“She has a very good backhand. I am not so good against European players, so I tried to be very aggressive in the first three balls” confessed Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
She will now face Yuko Kato in the finals.
Yuko Kato: hidden aggression
Although Yuko Kato has an extremly calm appearance, she was remarkably aggressive on the table today. She beat Chinese Taipei’s Fang Sih-Han in six games, a game that saw many long close to the table counter attacking rallies.
“I am happy that I was able to implement everything that I had practiced in the match today. I was able to earn a lot of points from the forehand side” said Yuko Kato.
Left handed Kato Yuko strategically used her backhand to place the ball aggressively on to Fang Sih-Han’s forehand side which forced her to stretch her limits. On the other hand, Yuko Kato swiftly covered both her flanks. The aggression in her defence was unexpected. The poker faced Japanese converted each rally to counter attacks which made a huge difference.
Yuko Kato won 5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9.
The Final Match
Minnie Soo Wai Yam and Yuko Kato have played each other five times previously. On all the five occasions, Minnie Soo Wai Yam beat Yuko Kato, the most recent one in the junior girls’ team main at the 2016 ITTF Hungarian Junior and Cadet Open. She won by an impressive three-nil margin.
She said, “I feel happy that I made it to the final. I have played Yuko Kato before and beat her. But I will prepare a lot, because she has improved her game well in the last few months.”
Will Minnie Soo Wai Yam repeat her previous success?
Or will Yuko Kato break the momentum?
The final match will be played at 2:00pm IST.
Watch the match LIVE on ITTF’s YouTube channel.