02 Apr 2017

Successful two weeks ago in the Belarus capital city of Minsk, two weeks later approaching five thousand miles in a south easterly direction and in warmer climes, in Bangkok, it was success again for Hitomi Sato. Furthermore, it was success against the same opponent; her compatriot and Women’s Doubles partner, Honoka Hashimoto.

In Belarus, Hitomi Sato beat Honoka Hashimoto in five games (11-9, 11-2, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4); on Sunday 2nd April in the final of the Women’s Singles event at the ITTF Challenge Thailand Open, the margin of victory was similar. Hitomi Sato lost the opening game before winning the next four (9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The win means that both Challenge Series tournaments, so far staged this year, have witnessed the same players in the Women’s Singles final and the same outcome; is that a portent for the rest of the year?

Once successful Hitomi Sato does tend to build on that success and on wonders if at 2017 Challenge tournaments she may emulate her success in Under 21 Women’s Singles events on the GAC 2015 ITTF World Tour.

She won in Belarus in May, later in the same month she was successful in the Philippines. The following month in June, she secured the top prize in both Australia and on home soil in Japan, prior to emerging victorious in August in China.

Five wins; in Women’s Singles events in this year’s Challenge series tournaments, it is three more to match the 2015 record, four more to beat it. Will she do it? Only Hitomi Sato knows.

Overall, in addition to the 2015 successes, the win in Bangkok increases the Hitomi Sato gold medal tally to a most impressive number.

In 2014, she won ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles titles in Korea and Sweden, as well as last year in the Czech Republic; also, on the ITTF World Tour she claimed the Women’s Singles in Croatia.

Add this year’s victories; an overall tally of 11 titles is an impressive number.

Success for Hitomi Sato, the phrase has a familiar sound but there was one new factor in Bangkok; it was the first time she had departed either an ITTF World Tour tournament or ITTF Challenge event with two titles to her name.

Earlier in the afternoon she had clinched the Women’s Doubles top prize in partnership with Honoka Hashimoto, her Women’s Singles final victim.

Challenge Series 2017 ITTF Challenge - Thailand Hitomi Sato Honoka Hashimoto

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