by Simon Daish
Unseeded for the event, Sun Yingsha was required to negotiate the two-day qualification tournament before going on to claim main draw victories over Suh Hyowon, Kasumi Ishikawa and Wang Manyu to reach the last four.
Recovering from a game down to beat second seed Chen Meng in the semi-finals, but in the final itself it was Sun Yingsha who gained the early momentum with successful outings in games one and two handing the 18-year-old a 2-0 lead.
However, she was up against Liu Shiwen, newly crowned World champion and one of the sport’s finest players – there was always bound to be some form of response and there was as the no.4 seed struck three consecutive game wins to fight back from two games behind to move 2-3 in front.
Finding her stride, all of a sudden the odds looked to be stacked in Liu Shiwen’s favour but there was still room for one more twist.
Summoning her inner warrior Sun Yingsha took her game up a level, securing games six and seven to lift the trophy with a 4-3 victory (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3).
Not only has Sun Yingsha taken home her second women’s singles gold from the Japan Open stage but also collects her second-ever ITTF World Tour singles title, bringing a two year wait to a close. One thing’s clear, Sun Yingsha loves playing in Japan – could this bode well for her Tokyo 2020 ambitions?