18th Asian Games Palembang 2018
Japanese takes surprise lead
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26th August, Palembang: 2014 Asian Championships Trios gold medallist, Mirai Ishimoto of Japan took a surprise lead of the first block Women's Masters finals at the 18th Asian Games Palembang 2018 ahead of Korea's Lee Yeonji in second and Singapore's Joey Yeo third.

Team gold medallist, Lee Nayoung defeated team-mate, Lee Yeonji in her opening match, 262-212 to take an early lead. Ishimoto knocked down the second best score of 254 to beat her team-mate, Yuri Sato to trail the Korean by 8 pins.

2017 South-East Asian Games Team silver medallist, Daphne Tan of Singapore rolled the third best game of 252 but had to content with fourth, behind Lara Posadas of Philippines, who won her match with 247.

Trios silver and Team bronze medallist, Chou Chia-Chen won her second match with a sizzling 267 after losing her opening match with 234 to take over the running. Singapore's Yeo won her first and second matches to move into second spot.

Mirai Ishimoto hoping to win Japan's first-ever Masters gold medal in Asian Games

Lee slipped down to third after failing to win her second match despite knocking down 235. Although Ishimoto won her second match with 229, the Japanese dropped two spots down to fourth. But Ishimoto bounced back with a 247 victory in her third match to become the new leader.

Second spot went to Lee after she recovered with her second win to trail the Japanese by 9 pins. Yeo lost her third match and fell to third. But the Singaporean won her fourth match with a sizzling 263 which saw the lead changed yet again.

Ishimoto was content to stay in second but took her fourth straight wins to trail Yeo by 12 pins. Yeo led after another two matches with Ishimoto continuing to stay behind in second despite adding two more wins.

Yeo lost her seventh match with a lowly 201 allowing Ishimoto to regain the lead after she picked up her seventh win. Chou had another two big match wins of 263 and 268 to leapfrog into second spot, 42 pins adrift.

Ishimoto ended with 212 in the final match to lead the block with 1966 from a total of seven wins. A second Korean, Lee Yeonji won her second half block matches to snatch second position with 1946 from six wins altogether.

Yeo recovered with her fifth win in this block to claim third position with 1941. Her team-mate, Daphne Tan finished fourth with 1939 with just four wins while Chou lost both her seventh and eighth matches to round out the top 5 with 1935.

Top 3 finishers in the first block, Lee Yeonji, Ishimoto and Jeoy Yeo

Ishimoto will be hoping to end Korea's stronghold in the Masters event having won the prestigious title for the past three Asian Games and to give Japan its first triumph. The women will resume competition with their second block of 7 matches and a position-round match with today's total pinfalls carried forward. The top 3 with the highest pinfall will advance to the Stepladder finals.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Palembang, Indonesia.

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