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Reflections: Mima Ito asserts authority

Tuesday 16 March

Winner of the women’s singles title in some style one week earlier, seven days later, on Saturday 13th March at the 2021 WTT Star Contender tournament in Doha, it was a repeat success for Japan’s Mima Ito.

Never at any stage of the proceedings extended the full distance, the 20 year old made her presence known. The top seed, following a quarter-final success against Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.7 seed (11-5, 17-15, 9-11, 11-5, 15-13), she accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.6 seed (11-5, 17-15, 9-11, 11-5, 15-13) to reach the final, where the title was secured at the hands of Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.5 seed (10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).

Impressive from Mima Ito, in the later rounds it had been the very same from Feng Tianwei, the 34 year old made experience count.

At the quarter-final stage she ended the hopes of Japan’s Hina Hayata, the no.13 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.16 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 11-5).

Repeat for Mima Ito, for Tomokazu Harimoto, beaten by Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the men’s singles final one week earlier, it was sweet revenge. After avenging the penultimate round defeat against the Germany no.6 seed (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7), he beat Ruwen Filus, the no.32 seed (11-9, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8), to arrest the top prize.

In the round of the last eight, the defensive skills of Ruwen Filus had ended the progress of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.3 seed (11-3, 13-11, 11-9).

Notably, at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Lin Yun-Ju had also lost to a defender, he departed in round two beaten by Panagiotis Gionis of Greece (11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9).

Disappointment for Lin Yun-Ju but there was success, he repeated the efforts of the previous week to win the mixed doubles, once again partnering colleague Cheng I-Ching. The duo ousted Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee to secure the top prize (10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6).

Silver for the Korea Republic but there was gold. Lee Sangsu and Jeoung Youngsik beat the combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles to be crowned men’s doubles champions (2-11, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3); Shin Yubin and Jeon Jihee emerged the women’s doubles champions, at the final hurdle they accounted for Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano (11-4, 12-10, 11-8).

Editor: Ian Marshall

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