Mima Ito Lands 2018 Japan Open Title

(Photo: ITTF)

The home crowd at the 2018 Japan Open celebrated a fine victory for one of its heroes as Mima Ito produced a title winning campaign in Kitakyushu.

Progressing through to the Women’s Singles final with a breathtaking comeback effort from three games down against Chen Xingtong, Japan’s Mima Ito accounted for another Chinese star in the title contest, Wang Manyu.

By reserving her spot in the final Wang Manyu guaranteed that she would join Zhu Yuling at the summit of the World Rankings table next month but had the opportunity to surpass her fellow compatriot and become the outright World No.1 with a victory over Mima Ito.

Sailing into a one game lead, Ito recovered from 5-8 down to steal game two by a 12-10 score-line to extend her advantage to two games but Wang Manyu hit back in game three to reduce the score deficit to one.

Ito once again moved two games ahead with another successful outing in game four but then the home crowd started to become slightly anxious as Wang not only pulled herself back into the tie with a strong showing in the fifth end but also managed to hold two game points in game six to put her Japanese counterpart on the back foot.

However, much to the relief of the local spectators four consecutive points saw Ito come out on top in game six to seal her spot on the top step of the podium (11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10).

“To win this title in front of all these Japanese fans is amazing. This was a very tough match, as Wang Manyu is a very good player. The reason I could win is because of the crowd and the power and energy that they gave me. I can’t wait to have this experience at Tokyo 2020!” – Mima Ito

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