by Ian Marshall, Editor
Such was the situation at the Volkswagen 2004 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in Beijing, on Sunday 12th December Guo Yue won the Women’s Singles title. The fact that a player from China won was nothing new, the significant fact was that she was only 16 years old.
Furthermore, she entered the tournament seemingly not in the best of form; the previous month on the ITTF Pro Tour, she had experienced earlier exits in Germany and Austria, the defeats were not catastrophic, she been beaten respectively by colleagues Li Xiaoxia and Cao Zhen. The fact that in the Finals she won without ever being extended the full seven games distance added to the surprise of the occasion.
Impressively, in the opening round she beat Singapore’s Li Jiawei (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-3), before overcoming Korea Republic’s Kim Kyungah (11-5, 11-13, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4) to reserve her place in the penultimate round where the good form continued. She accounted for colleagues Wang Nan 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Niu Jianfeng (11-8, 12-10, 11-3, 12-14, 14-18, 11-8) to secure the title.
Guo Yue is the only teenager to win the Women’s Singles title at a Grand Finals; equally a player in those formative years has never won the Men’s Singles event.
In Incheon Japan’s Mima Ito and Miu Hirano alongside China’s Sun Yingsha all appear in the Women’s Singles event, all are 18 years old. The results gained by Mima Ito in recent months on the Seamaster ITTF World Tour have been quite outstanding but those of Miu Hirano and Sun Yingsha, although not disastrous, have not hit the headlines.
Could either Miu Hirano or Sun Yingsha emulate Guo Yue?