14 Dec 2017

Winner one year ago in Doha, Japan’s Hina Hayata underlined the fact that she has every intention of repeating the success at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals which began in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday 14th December.

In the Gulf State she partnered colleague Yui Hamamoto to Women's Doubles gold; now further east in the continent of Asia, she joins forces with another compatriot Mima Ito.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The top seeds, the duo accounted for the combination of the Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova, the no.7 seeds, in four games (11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5), a contest in which the 17 year olds from the Land of the Rising Sun proved that fraction of a second two fast for their European adversaries.

Great credit must go to Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova who fought for the cause; notably after losing the first two games, they were 4-1 in arrears in the second, the stage at which they called “Time Out”. Eventually, they levelled a 8-all, before securing the game at 13-11 having saved two match points.

A revival, it was not to be, the European duo lost the first six points on the fourth game, then secured the next four, the Japanese teenagers elected for the break, wise words from Mika Baba, the Japanese national coach sitting courtside and they never looked back.

Success for Hina Hayata, gold medallist one year ago; there was also success for the beaten finalists in Doha. Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.4 seeds, accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching, the no.5 seeds (11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11).

Victory for Hong Kong, there was also defeat; Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.8 seeds, experienced lost to China’s Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, the no.2 seeds (11-3, 11-4, 11-7).

Wins as status advised, in the one remaining quarter-final Women’s Doubles encounter, there was more success for Japan and an upset according to the pecking order. Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the no.6 seeds, accounted for the combination of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota, the no.3 seeds (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7).

At the semifinal stage Hina Hayata and Mima Ito meet Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato confront Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling.

The matches are scheduled for 10.00am (local time) on Friday 15th December.

2017 Seamaster ITTF World Tour Grand Finals Mima Ito Hina Hayata

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