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Success for Host Nation but Canadians Experience Opening Day Problems
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Ariel Hsing proved the mainstay of her team's fortunes on day one in Grand Rapids  Photo By: Thomas Nguyen

07/01/2012        2012 USA Junior & Cadet Open - ITTF Junior Circuit (Click here to access this section)

Top seeds, the host nations Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang duly finished in top place in their group in the first stage of the Junior Girls Team event at the United States Junior and Cadet Open in Grand Rapids, on Saturday 30th June 2012, but they did experience some testing times.

Equally, the second seeded outfit comprising Canadians Shirley Fu and Anqi Lu also endured difficulties; the problems they faced being much greater than those encountered by their American counterparts.

The problem for both teams was Chinese Taipei; against Chinese Taipei B it was a hard fought victory for Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang. In opposition to Chinese Taipei A, it was defeat for Shirley Fu and Anqi Lu.

The Player to Cause Problems
Chih De-Rong was the player to cause the Americans problems; notably in the second match of the fixture she beat Lily Zhang (11-8, 11-9, 11-9).

However, wins for Ariel Hsing over Kuo Chia-Yun (11-6, 11-2, 11-6) and in opposition to Chih De-Rong (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9) plus a doubles success with Lily Zhang over the Chinese Taipei duo (3-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6) secured victory.

Not Adjusted to Style
She used long pimples and was good at backspin play; I was not used to her style of play, said Lily Zhang after her defeat at the hands of Chih De-Rong.

I played against her two years ago and won, reflected Lily Zhang. She attacked more today I was not used that tactic.

Changed Tactics
Nevertheless, Ariel Hsing came good.

I think I changed the play well, I tried to mix up my serves and receives; I kept trying to change my strategies, said the American teenager. The first girl I played, Kuo Chia-Yun, was a lefty, she was good at looping, her forehand had a lot of spin; the second girl, Chih De-Rong, the one who had long pimpled rubber, was good at attacking and she didnt make mistakes.

First Place
Success for Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang, who duly finished in first place in their group, with Chih De-Rong and Kuo Chia-Yun in second spot; both teams beat Canada B (Ly Li Quan, Teri Zhou) and Canada C (Annie Coulombe, Liu Jiawei) by three matches to nil.

Second place in the group and a place in the main draw for Kuo Chia-Yun with Chih De-Rong
Photo by Thomas Nguyen

Second Spot for Second Seeds
First place in the group for the top seeds but the second seeds had to settle for second place; on their very first visit they were beaten by Chinese Taipei A, with Lin Chia-Hsuan being the name to note.

She completed the day unbeaten and proved the backbone of success against the top Canadian team and in opposition to the United States B Team.

Lin Chia-Hsuan
Against the Canadians, she accounted for Shirley Fu (12-10, 11-13, 11-6, 11-7) and Anqi Luo (11-7, 11-9, 11-9), whilst teaming with Lin Chia-Yu to secure the doubles against Shirley Fu and Anqi Luo (11-4, 11-6, 11-6) to secure a three-one victory.

The one win from the Canadians came from Anqi Luo, in the second match of the contest she accounted for Lin Chia-Yu (11-5, 11-7, 11-8).

Splendid form from Lin Chia-Hsuan in the opening fixture and it was repeated in the second.

Confronting the United States B Team formed by Prachi Jha and Erica Wu she remained unbeaten in a three-two Chinese Taipei victory.

She overcame Erica Wu (11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 12-10) and Prachi Jha by the very narrowest of margins in the concluding contest of the fixture (7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 13-11) in the final match of the contest, after having partnered Lin Chia-Yu to doubles victory over Prachi Jha and Erica Wu (11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-3).

The two wins for the United States came at the expense of Lin Chia-Yu; Prachi Jha succeeded in three straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-5) as did Erica Wu (11-6, 11-5, 11-8).

Third place in the group for Prachi Jha but a splendid effort against Lin Chia-Hsuan
Photo by Thomas Nguyen

Third Place in Group
Alas for Prachi Jha and Erica Wu it was defeat and eventually it was to be third place in the group; they suffered a three-nil reverse against Shirley Fu and Anqi Lu. All three teams beat the United States C Team of Aditi Chodri, Angela Guan and Amy Wang by three matches to nil.

Top place in the group for Chinese Taipei A means they face compatriots Chinese Taipei B in the semi-finals; in the opposite half of the draw, the United States A plays Canada A.

Justified Top Billing
Meanwhile in the Cadet Girls Team event Canada A with Catherine Dauplaise and Liu Jiahao on duty duly justified their top seeded position to finish in first place in their group but for the second seeds there was defeat.

Joy Li beaten by Diane Jiang in the first match of the duel against their American colleagues
Photo by Thomas Nguyen

Problems for United States
The United States C Team who occupied the second seeded spot suffered a three-nil defeat at the hands of United States B but it was a close three-nil; both singles matches were decided by the minimum two point margin.

Joy Li was beaten by Diane Jiang (11-7, 2-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9), Laura Huang lost to Tina Lin (11-9, 10-12, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9) with the doubles bringing matters to a close as Lucy May entered the fray to partner Laura Huang; the pair experienced a reverse at the hands of Diane Jiang and Tina Lin (11-4, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10).

Games Ratio Decides
Diane Jiang and Tina Lin eventually topped the group but only just; they finished in first place on match ratio.

Prior to beating their top seeded colleagues, they suffered a three-one defeat against the Canadian B Team duo of Betty Guo and Amy Nicholls, who in their concluding fixture suffered defeat by the same margin against the United States C outfit.

The end result was first place in the group for the United States B team, second place for Canada B and thus third and no place in the main draw for the United States B Team.

Guaranteed Final
Teams finishing in first and second places in each group progress to the main draw.

Thus one fact is certain: the final will see Canada face the United States.
In the top half of the draw, at the semi-final stage, Canada A plays Canada B, in the lower half, the United States A meets the United States B.

A place in the Cadet Girls Team semi-finals for Diane Jiang alongside Tina Lin
Photo by Thomas Nguyen



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