31 Mar 2018

The lowest rated in her initial stage qualification group which comprised four players, no current world ranking, Korea’s Kim Youjin continued her quite staggering unbeaten run of success on Saturday 31st March to reach the final of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Guadalajara.

A right handed defender in classical mode, at the quarter-final stage of proceedings she beat Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling, likewise a player who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament (14-12, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4), before causing a major upset. She overcame Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seed (11-8, 4-11, 12-11-7).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Success and success against most worthy opponents; notably on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit, Su Pei-Ling had won the Junior Girls’ Singles title in both Slovakia and Croatia. She qualified for the Finals in Luxembourg where she finished in runners up spot, losing to Japan’s Maki Shiomi.

Similarly in 2016, Minnie Soo Wai Yam enjoyed success on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, not only did she win in India, Hungary and Chinese Taipei; she emerged victorious at the Finals, also held in India.

The quest now for Minnie Soo Wai Yam is to make the next step; just over one year ago at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open she was the runner up in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event but since that date her best has been the penultimate round. On the Seamaster ITTF World Tour, last year she was a semi-finalist in Germany, Japan and Austria, as well as this year, departing at the same stage in Hungary.

A place in the final against expectations for Kim Youjin; in the opposite half of the draw it was as predicted for Saki Shibata. The no.2 seed, she advanced to the title deciding round for the second consecutive week; some nine days ago she had won in Germany.

Impressively, at the quarter-final stage she beat Yoon Hyobin, like Kim Youjin from Korea and also a qualifier (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10), prior to ending the hopes of 13 year old colleague Satsuki Odo (9-11, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4).

Notably Satsuki Odo, who also had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, in the round of the last eight had also caused Hong Kong pain. She had beaten Mak Tze Wing, the no.3 seed (11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5).

The final will be staged later in the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Spanish Open Saki Shibata Kim Youjin

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