15 May 2017

She played in one ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament in 2016, she concluded play in the Junior Girls’ Singles event standing on the third step of the podium; one year later in the very same tournament, she climbed two steps higher.

Making her initial appearance on this year’s international scene, Mitsuho Kimura emerged successful at the SET 2017 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open in Bangkok on the early evening of Sunday 14th May and thus collected her first ever such title.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

One year ago, she had experienced defeat at the semi-final stage, losing by the very narrowest of margins to Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing (2-11, 11-6, 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9), the champion elect.

Absent from the international stage since competing in Bangkok last and thus a player with no World Ranking, one year later, she made no mistake.

At the quarter-final stage she accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chien Tung-Chuan, the no.7 seed (11-8, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9), prior to ousting colleagues Ayano I (9-11, 9-11, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5) and Kasumi Kimura, who is no relation, to clinch the top prize (6-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5).

Success for Mitsuho Kimura and success for Japan; in the counterpart half of the draw, in the latter stages, Kasumi Kimura had beaten Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam (11-8, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-9), before reserving her place in the final, courtesy of success against colleague, Asuka Sasao (13-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8).

Impressively, at the end of the tournament, all three steps of the medal podium were occupied by the four players, none with a current world ranking, who had formed the squad that three days earlier had won the Junior Girls’ Team title without surrendering a single individual match.

Mitsuho Kimura remained unbeaten throughout the whole tournament, the only time Kasumi Kimura, Ayano I or Asuka Sasao lost was facing each other; a quite remarkable performance.

However, now there is a problem for Mitsuho Kimura whose on world ranking excursions are to Bangkok; next she is too old to compete in the SET 2018 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open.

 Day Five: SET 2017 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open

Photos: Nakarees Terakashimi

World Junior Circuit 2017 Thailand Junior & Cadet Open Mitsuho Kimura Kasumi Kimura Ayano I Sasao

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