by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Mima Ito gave her a second title of the day, having earlier in the afternoon secured Women’s Doubles gold. Also it afforded her a first win over Kasumi Ishikawa in a world ranking event; all previous five engagements had finished in the hands of her 24 year old compatriot.
Furthermore, now Mima Ito has happier memories of Olomouc; their first ever meeting was at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Czech Open; on that occasion Kasumi Ishikawa won in six games in their third round Women’s Singles encounter (8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3). Three years later, three years older, now 16 years of age, it was a different outcome.
A reversal of fortunes; the basic reason was that Mima Ito came out all guns blazing, an early timing on the ball, she gave Kasumi Ishikawa minimal time to respond. Simply she was too fast.
Consistently, returning service by using the backhand from the forehand side and attacking the left handed Kasumi Ishikawa’s backhand, she dominated the first three games.
In the fourth game Mima Ito went ahead 5-2, Kasumi Ishikawa had no choice, she called “Time Out”; doubts in her mind the next four points were shared, before to her great credit she recovered to secure the game by the minimal two point margin. There was a ray of hope but any chances of a remarkable recovery were quickly ended; machine gun attacks, superb over the table, her adversary forced into the passive role, Mima Ito won the fifth game with an air of authority.
“Last week at the Bulgaria Open, I won the doubles, but finished second in the singles. This time I was able to win doubles and also singles; so I feel very happy, but I am also very tired.” Mima Ito
Success for Mima Ito; it was her fourth victory in six ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles finals; additional to last week in Bulgaria, she won in 2015 in Belarus and Germany, as well as last year in Austria; also in 2015, she was the runner up in Korea when beaten by compatriot Ai Fukuhara.
Meanwhile for Kasumi Ishikawa, overall it was her fifth runners up spot in what is now 12 appearances in an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final.