Hirano becomes the first ever non-Chinese winner of the Women's World CupPhoto: ITTF
16-year-old Japanese sensation Miu HIRANO has made history at the Seamaster 2016 ITTF Women's World Cup in Philadelphia, USA, as the youngest ever World Cup Champion.
In front of a capacity crowd at the Liacouras Center at the Temple University, HIRANO stunned the world as she beat world number eight CHENG-I- Ching (TPE), 4-0 in the final (11-9, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8) to be crowned the Champion of the Seamaster 2016 Women's World Cup on her maiden trip.
After missing out on the Japanese Rio 2016 line-up, the Japanese teenager was determined to prove herself on the international stage, beating teammate Mima ITO who was chosen as the third player for the Rio 2016 Japanese team and won Bronze in the Olympic team event. After her quarterfinal win over ITO, HIRANO proceed to defeat top seeded and 2010 World Team Champion FENG Tianwei (SGP), before overcoming CHENG the second seed to become the first Japanese player to become the Women's World Cup champion.
"I am very happy with the victory, it all felt like a dream to me," shared an elated HIRANO after her historic victory."I'm doing to do some shopping for my family, coaches and friends with the prize money that I just won!"
In its 20th edition, the prestigious Women's World Cup title has only been won historically by the Chinese National Women's Team since its inauguration in 1996. With her win in Philadelphia, HIRANO is also the first non-Chinese player to ever lift the Women's World Cup after the world number one and two respectively DING Ning and LIU Shiwen pulled out with injury.
Missing on the chance to reach the final after losing to HIRANO, world number six FENG had to face off Hong Kong's TIE Yana to fight for the Bronze medal. The match was a repeat of their encounter at the 2016 ITTF-Asian Cup third place playoff, being familiar with each other's strengths and playing styles, the duo pulled off their best performance against each other. Eventually, it was the higher seeded FENG who prevailed to win 4-1 (12-10, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9) and take home the Bronze medal.