KITAKYUSHU – Teenagers Mima Ito and Tomokazu Harimoto made the last day of the Japan Open a memorable one for home fans as they claimed both singles crowns for the host nation on Sunday.
In the women’s singles final, 17-year-old Ito beat two-time world junior champ Wang Manyu of China in six games, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10.
Ito became just the second Japanese player to win the women’s singles title at the tournament. The win was her first against the 19-year-old Wang, who came into the event ranked No. 3 in the world, three places above Ito.
In an earlier match, Ito staged a gutsy comeback to win a seven-game semifinal against China’s Chen Xingtong 8-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7.
In the men’s singles, 14-year-old Harimoto beat London Olympic gold medalist Zhang Jike of China in seven games. With a vocal home crowd on his side, Harimoto came back from two games down to win 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11.
Harimoto earlier in the day advanced to the final by beating South Korea’s Lee Sang-su. Harimoto, ranked 10th in the world, overcame the eighth-ranked Lee 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9.