Ai Fukuhara beaten by Shen Yanfei
Photo By: Testsu Yamashita
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Japan Open
Koreaís Kim Kyungah and the host nationís Ai Fukuhara booked their places in the final of the Womenís Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Japan Open by emerging successful in their quarter-final encounters on the morning of Sunday 10th June.
Kim Kyungah won the all-Korean duel accounting for Dang Yeseo in straight games (11-7, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5); before, in a closer contest, Shen Yanfei ended the hopes of Japanís Ai Fukuhara.
Shen Yanfei needed the full seven games to cement victory, recovering from a three games to one deficit to secure success.
She won 11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5.
Set the Standard
Seeded no.5, Kim Kyungah set the show on the road by beating compatriot Dang Yeseo; a player who had impressed immensely on the four previous days of competition.
She had negotiated the qualification stage of proceedings before gaining in confidence round by round as she progressed to the penultimate round.
Never Found Rhythm
However against Kim Kyung Ah she was never in a rhythm, never in tune and never challenged the consistent backspin skills of the leading Korean.
Simply, Kim Kyungah relied on solid defence; now and against she ventured with a controlled forehand top spin but basically Dang Yeseo made mistakes, lost self-belief and was soundly beaten.
Somewhat of a Surprise
Furthermore, the result and especially the margin of victory was a somewhat of a surprise.
The most recent meeting between the two on the international stage had seen victory for Dang Yeseo and in a reasonably convincing manner. In the third round of the Womenís Singles event at the H.I.S World Championships in 2009 in Yokohama, Dang Ye Seo had won in five games (11-3,11-8,9-11,11-7,11-7). In Kobe three years later it was a total reversal.
Kim Kyungah won in four straight games.
A mild surprise or no surprise at all but the victory of Shen Yanfei over Ai Fukuhara was a surprise.
Ai Fukuhara was the no.4 seed, Shen Yanfei was the no.12 seed and on the their most recent meeting, in the first stage of proceedings in the Volkswagen Womenís World Cup in Singapore last September, Ai Fukuhara had beaten Shen Yanfei in an impressive manner.
She had won in five games (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 4-11,11-4).
After losing the first game, it appeared that matters were progressing in the same direction; Ai Fukuhara won three games in a row, she was too fast for the Spaniard.
However, at that stage Shen Yanfei raised the stakes, she reduced the unforced errors, she matched Ai Fukuhara in the counter attacking exchanges and as the Japanese star tried to force the pace, she made errors.
Shen Yanfei won the fifth and sixth games, a seventh game beckoned.
The Spaniard moved ahead 4-1, Ai Fukuhara called ĎTime Outí but the momentum was with Shen Yanfei; she never relinquished the advantage, a place in the final was booked and the Singapore defeat avenged.