The first team is Mima Ito, Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano but for how much longer will that be Japan’s women’s team selection for the major events on planet earth?
At the recent World Table Tennis (WTT) Middle East tournaments staged in Doha from Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 13th March, there was no denying the fact that Mima Ito was the leader, she won the women’s singles event at both the Contender and Star Contender tournament but if there was one young lady from the Land of the Rising Sun who stated her case, it was Hina Hayata.
She proved thoroughly consistent. In the Contender tournament, the no.12 seed, she reached the final losing to Mima Ito, the top seed, before in the Star Contender tournament, the no.13 seed, advancing to the quarter-finals where Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.5 seed, halted adventures.
Quite simply it was one impressive performance after another.
Hina Hayata - Women’s Singles – WTT Contender Doha
Hina Hayata - Women’s Singles – WTT Star Contender Doha
Mima Ito stands alone but in Doha, the results gained by prime colleagues Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano did not match those of Hina Hayata. In addition to losing to Hina Hayata at the Contender tournament, in the Star Contender event, the no.3 seed, Kasumi Ishikawa experienced a third round defeat at the hands of Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.4 seed (13-11, 11-9, 12-10).
Meanwhile, for Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed at the Contender tournament, it was a second round reverse against Singapore’s Yu Mengyu, the no.13 seed (11-4, 6-11, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10); at the Star Contender, the no.4 seed, defeat in round three when opposing Korea Republic qualifier Shin Yubin (11-4, 13-11, 4-11, 11-7).
At the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad, in the women’s team event a total of eight fixtures, five in the group stage, three in the main draw; only on one occasion was the selection not Kasumi Ishikawa, Mima Ito and Miu Hirano. The confrontation in question was in the group phase against Egypt when Hina Hayata replaced Miu Hirano and beat Dina Meshref (11-9, 11-8, 11-6).
Similarly, at the ZEN-NOH 2019 Team World Cup on Tokyo, throughout the choice was Kasumi Ishikawa, Mima Ito and Miu Hirano. It’s a selection that’s difficult to argue against; on both occasions they secured silver!
However, as we look into the crystal ball will changes occur? Ask Hina Hayata!