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.
Photos: Nakarees Terakashimi