Back-to-back titles for Lin at ITTF Grand Finals

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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