Paddler Lin Ye reclaims ITTF U-19 girls' title
National paddler Lin Ye has added another feather to her cap in the most eventful year in her blossoming table tennis career.
In Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday, the 19-year-old became the first to reclaim the World Tour Grand Finals Under-21 girls' singles title.
The No. 4 seed beat the second seed, Japan's Yui Hamamoto, 4-2 (12-10, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8).
It might seem like deja vu for her, as she had also triumphed in the 2013 edition's final, which was staged in January 2014, by the same margin. Then, she beat Hong Kong's Ng Wing Nam 11-9, 11-9, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in Dubai.
After her victory, world No. 57 Lin, who is bidding to represent Singapore at next year's Rio Olympics, said: "I am really happy to win the title again.
"I have played against Yui Hamamoto quite a few times before, including the group match yesterday (4-2 as well) and I have won every time, so I was confident coming into the match.
"Compared to the tournament at the 2013 World Tour Grand Finals, this year was definitely different.
"I was the last seed back then and everyone was stronger than me, so mentally, I didn't have any burdens.
"But, this time, I was the fourth seed, and I had won the title in 2013.
"Still, what remained the same was that I had to fight hard to win."
Lin, the Singapore Table Tennis Association's three-time Young Player of the Year (2013-2015), has had a remarkable year not just at the under-21 level, but also in the senior women's doubles competition.
At the SEA Games held on home soil in June, she teamed up with Zhou Yihan to stun their higher-ranked teammates Feng and Yu Mengyu 4-3 to clinch the women's doubles gold, before combining to land the women's team gold.
Within the same month, the duo earned an even more sensational victory when they whitewashed then world No. 1 and 2 Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen 3-0 in the Japan Open semi-finals.
However, they lost 3-1 to Wu Yang and Liu Fei in the final.
In September, they scooped their first World Tour title of the year when they won the Belgium Open.
Meanwhile in the women's singles competition, world No. 7 Feng Tianwei could not hold on to a two-game lead and lost 4-2 (17-15, 13-11, 7-11, 7-11, 6-11, 5-11) to China's world No. 2 Zhu Yuling.