Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
It means that overall, considering both ITTF World Tour and ITTF Challenge Series tournaments Saki Shibata remains second on the all-time list of Under 21 Women’s Singles winners. Nine titles, she is level with Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun, one place behind compatriot Kasumi Ishikawa.
A semi-final success for Chen Ke, who earlier in the day had caused Japan further pain by beating Honoka Hashimoto, the no.18 seed (11-7, 11-3, 11-9) but it was not to be gold; she was beaten in the final by Wang Yidi, likewise from China and the no.12 seed (7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-6).
Hard fought success for Wang Yidi but the most exacting encounter was in the penultimate round. After beating colleague, He Zhuojia, a player of high quality but with no current world ranking (11-9, 14-12, 16-14), Wang Yidi was stretched to the very limit by the defensive attributes of Japan’s Hitomi Sato. Eventually, she emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (12-10, 11-8, 6-11, 10-12, 12-10).
Success for Wang Yidi and her first such title in a second final; last year she had been the runner up at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, for Chen Ke it was her fourth career ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles final; last year she won in Germany, this year she emerged successful in Hungary but as now in Hong Kong, in Qatar, she had to settle for runners up spot.