by Ian Marshall, Editor
Fast and furious, rallies brief, the opening game went by the very narrowest of decisions in favour of Sun Yingsha at her third attempt; true to her trademark style Miu Hirano played in her typical uninhibited manner, for Sun Yingsha the task was to play in her now renowned fashion, consistent, safe, absorb the relentless attacks from her adversary.
There was little to choose as the contest progressed, both players causing each other problems when returning service.
The first game in favour of security, the second went in favour of the more attacking option; after leading 9-6, taking a “Time Out” at 9-8, Miu Hirano levelled matters.
Success for Miu Hirano, electing time and again to serve with forehand from the centre of the table, she started the third game in the express lane; she established a 6-3 lead. Gradually, Sun Yingsha reduced the arrears, at 8-all she levelled; as throughout the match, both taking full advantage of the situation when serving, adopting very deliberate and subtle techniques. At 10-9 Sun Yingsha held two game points. At the second attempt she succeeded.
A good start for Miu Hirano followed by a Sun Yingsha recovery, the fourth game followed the pattern of the third. Miu Hirano made the better start, she established a 5-3 lead, again Sun Yingsha levelled at 8-all before, after taking a “Time Out” when leading 10-9, she emerged successful.
Now the momentum was with Sun Yingsha, in the fifth game she led by one point at 6-5, it was at that stage she accelerated, at 10-6 she held four match points, she needed just one, the title was secured.
“Of course it feels great to win gold here at the Youth Olympic Games! Hirano is one of the top players in Japan, a World Cup Champion and beat three our top Chinese players at the Asian Championships last year, so before this match, I couldn’t leave anything to chances, I had to prepare myself in the mindset of a challenger in the match and fight for every point. The first game was crucial to the victory, after winning that, even though I lost the second game, I didn’t panic, I felt I had control of the entire match.” Sun Yingsha
The win recorded by Sun Yingsha maintains Chinese dignity; in 2010 in Singapore, Gu Yuting emerged victorious, four years ago in Nanjing it was Liu Gaoyang. Now the name of the gold medallist in Sun Yingsha. Once again sun shines on China.