by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A chance to take 40 winks of sleep; no chance, suddenly the air was shattered by a squeal that resonated above all others, one that meant there was no possible chance of a quiet snooze to recover from jet-lag.
Japan’s Sakura Mori was in action; the tonsils vibrated, the left arm was raised high in the air in salute as she woke the whole Gulf Region from its slumber. Every time she won a point, the tonsils vibrated but agonisingly she fell just one shriek short of a half century of yelps.
She beat Korea’s Cho Hala in four straight games (13-11, 14-12, 11-8, 11-8).
Criticism, it is no criticism whatsoever; in fact it is the exact opposite. I want to see players show their feelings, I want to see players act naturally and of course I want to see them react in a way that is within the parameters of good sporting spirit not in a way designed to deliberately antagonise opponents.
Sakura Mori behaves within the bounds of fair and honest play; she shows her feelings in a sincere and candid manner, there is nothing false in her approach.
Furthermore, at the moment she is in a rich vein of form having achieved what few others have achieved; at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Indian Open in New Delhi, she won both the Under 21 Women’s Singles and Women’s Singles events.
“Winning in India has given me a great deal of confidence; last year I did not go to the Olympic Games so I spent the time training, a great deal of physical training. I think overall everything is improving, nothing in particular; perhaps better with service and receive”, Sakura Mori
Now in Doha she has one match remaining in her quest to secure a main draw place; Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam awaits. On the opening day of play she overcame Cho Hala in seven games (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 12-14, 12-10, 15-17, 11-6).