by Simon Daish
In a thrilling contest Chen Xingtong was very much the player in command in the opening stage of the match and before long found herself with a three games lead to her name, however, with the backing of the home crowd Mima Ito sensationally turned the match on its head with three consecutive game wins of her own to force a deciding seventh game.
With momentum firmly on her side Mima Ito sailed into a 5-1 lead in the decider before extending her advantage to 10-5. Chen Xingtong recovered two points on the bounce but the next point sent the Japanese crowd wild as Ito clinched the win in dramatic style.
“When I was 0-3 down, I just emptied my thoughts and focused on playing to come back from 0-3 down. I would like to thank all the fans who came today, their support has given me a lot of motivation and power, and I will do my best to enjoy my match against Wang Manyu tonight.” Mima Ito
Set to appear together as allies in the Women’s Doubles final but first Wang Manyu and Liu Shiwen would meet as rivals in only their second ever head-to-head encounter on the ITTF World Tour.
Very little separated the two competitors with the opening five games of the contest being decided in alternating fashion before a convincing win in game six for Wang Manyu sealed the victory (11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6).
“I think becoming world number one is a recognition to my hard work in the last year. However I will still play as though I’m a young inexperienced player and I will keep fighting.” Wang Manyu
The result means Wang Manyu’s dreams of moving to the summit of the World Rankings list come the next publication will become a reality.
The Women’s Singles competition concludes later in the day with Wang Manyu and Mima Ito battling it out for the top step of the medals podium in Kitakyushu.