13 Apr 2017

Drama, sheer drama; seemingly down and out, Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Mima Ito performed a quite sensational recovery on the afternoon of Thursday 13th April in the semi-final stage of the Mixed Doubles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships in Wuxi to book their place in the title deciding contest.

They recovered from the depths of despair to beat China’s Fang Bo and Wang Manyu (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 8-11, 13-11), after their colleagues, Kenta Tazoe and Miyu Maeda had experienced defeat against Zhou Yu and Xingtong, also from China (11-7, 12-10, 12-10).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

In the deciding fifth game against Fang Bo and Wang Manyu, they trailed 3-5 at the change of ends. The crowd urging Fang Bo and Wang Manyu forward with cries of “Jia You, Jia You” secured the next two points, a 7-3 lead, a place in the final for China loomed.

Undaunted Masataka Morizono and Mima Ito fought, they reduced the deficit to one point at 7-10 but then promptly lost the next three points; Fang Bo and Wang Manyu held three match points.

Quite incredibly, Masataka Morizono and Mima Ito won the next four points; an amazing change of fortunes; Fang Bo and Wang Manyu saved the match point but at 12-11 in favour of Japan they could not repeat the feat.

“I’m speechless, so happy; unbelievably happy.” Masataka Morizono

It was victory for Masataka Morizono and Mima Ito in a stupendous five game contest the best match of the whole tournament by a million miles.

“In the fifth game we went behind because we were too aggressive, Mima told me I must play with more control; I was focused on attack, attack and attack. At 7-10 down I thought we had no chance but Mima kept talking to me, always encouraging me. Playing the Chinese pair, Fang Bo has such a strong forehand so against him we tried to play towards the middle and towards his backhand. Wang Manyu is so safe, she doesn’t make mistakes and she is good from the backhand, against her the direction was middle and forehand.” Masataka Morizono

Success for Japan, in the corresponding less dramatic semi-final, it was success for China.

Select the world’s number one doubles player, you might chose Xu Xin. However, I would suggest that the left handed Zhou Yu is not far behind, very supple wrists, a good feeling for the ball, able to return with a delicate and especially from the backhand create angles.

At the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou, he proved the perfect foil for Fan Zhendong, the duo being the Men’s Doubles runners up, losing to the master, Xu Xin who partnered Zhang Jike.

In Wuxi, he complemented Chen Xingtong to perfection; the duo accounting for Kenta Tazoe and Miyu Maeda in a contest where the Japanese adjusted to the pace of the play as the match progressed.

Success in three straight games for Zhou Yu and Chen Xingtong was perhaps a little harsh for what was a spirited effort from the Japanese.

Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships Mima Ito Masataka Morizono

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