Hina Hayata Gets Silver in Women’s Singles Table Tennis at Asian Games, 1st Japanese to Make Final in 29 Years

Masanori Inagaki / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hina Hayata hits a return to China’s Sun Yingsha in the women’s singles final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sunday.

HANGZHOU, China — Japan’s Hina Hayata got past one powerful Chinese, but could not find a way past another one from the table tennis powerhouse.

Hayata capped an impressive performance at the Asian Games by taking home the silver medal in women’s singles, pushing world No. 1 China’s Sun Yingsha all way to the end before losing 4-1 in the final on Sunday in Hangzhou, China.

Earlier in the semifinals, Hayata posted an inspired 4-3 victory over world No. 4 Wang Yidi, making her the first Japanese to make the women’s singles final at the Asian Games since Chire Koyama did it at the 1994 Hiroshima Games.

During the final, the packed partisan crowd loudly supported Sun with the high-decibel Chinese chant of “Jiayou!” (Go for it!). Down 8-6 in the fifth game, Hayata set up points with her serve, but her hard returns failed to find the mark and Sun finished up the match by taking the game 11-7.

The semifinal with Wang was a rematch of their meeting at the World Championships in May, which Hayata also won in full sets. On Sunday, Hayata survived a match point this time and won a heated contest that lasted 1 hour 21 minutes.