INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - Mima Ito and Hina Hayata booked their ticket to the women’s doubles final at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals with victory over South Korean duo Jeon Ji-hee and Yang Hae-un on Friday.
The Japanese pair secured their second straight appearance in the final by winning a five-game thriller 12-10, 3-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6.
The two, who finished runners-up to China’s Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling last year in Kazakhstan, will face another Chinese pair, Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha, in Sunday’s final at Namdong Gymnasium.
Ito, 18, said she was struggling from a lack of sleep after losing a seven-game marathon to Taiwan’s Cheng I-Ching in the women’s singles round of 16 the previous night.
“My feet weren’t moving, so I had to battle with my head,” Ito said.
Among other Japanese players, 15-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto reached the men’s singles semis by beating South Korea’s Jang Woo-jin 4-1 (12-10, 11-8, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9).
Rio Olympic Games singles bronze medalist Jun Mizutani advanced to the men’s singles quarterfinals after Chinese opponent Liu Dingshuo retired hurt.
Mizutani did not lose a game before Liu withdrew with an injured thigh.
In the men’s doubles semifinals, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima were eliminated by Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, going down 3-1 (11-9, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4).