Singapore's Lin Ye provided the only cheer for the national women's table tennis team at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals when she won the Under-21 singles title on Friday.
Lin, ranked 52nd in the world and seeded fourth in her event, dispatched Japan's world No. 81 Yui Hamamoto 4-2 (12-10, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8) over six games in the final in Lisbon, Portugal.
She had defeated Hamamoto, also in six games (12-14, 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6 ), in the round-robin group stages on Thursday.
Team-mates Zhou Yihan and Zeng Jian failed to advance from the group stages.
Lin, 19, was also the U-21 women's singles champion at the tournament's last edition, staged in Dubai last January. This made her the first player in the competition's 19-year history to retain her title.
Said Lin: "I have played against Yui Hamamoto quite a few times before, including the group match (on Thursday) and I have won every time, so I was confident coming into the match.
"Compared to (last time) when I won in Dubai, I feel that I have matured over that time. This is probably why I earned this victory."
However, it was far from smooth sailing for Singapore's world No. 5 Feng Tianwei, who lost to China's world No. 6 Zhu Yuling 2-4 (17-15, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11, 6-11, 5-11) in the women's singles round of 16.
Lin and Zhou also lost to Japanese pair Mima Ito and Miu Hirano in the doubles quarter-final.
The Grand Finals is the ITTF's season-ending competition for the world's highest-ranked paddlers.
This article was first published on December 13, 2015.
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