Shen Yanwen beaten by Misako Morizono
Fourteen year old Misaki Morizono was the player to cause the major upset in the Girls’ Singles event on the morning of Friday 27th October 2006 at the ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Vrsac.
Playing patiently and consistently she beat the number one seed, Shen Yanwen of China.
Misaki Morizono won 11-6, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9.
Shen Yanwen is a high quality defensive player who, when the opportunity arises, is able to topspin with the forehand and attack quickly with the backhand; on the other hand Misaki Morizono is a fast attacking player, happy when the play is fast and furious.
Weak Against Defence
“I’m not very good against defensive players”, said Misaki Morizono; now that comment quite astounded me.
She had just beaten relatively comfortably the young lady who is arguably the best female defensive player in the world in the Under 15 age group. Stupidly, I asked the question again just in case my ears had deceived me, I received the same answer!
“I tried not to think of Shen Yanwen as a defender”, continued the petite Misaki Morizono. “I tried to think that she was an attacker.”
Well, it was certainly good thinking! “I had a tactic, I knew I couldn’t drive ball against her”, continued Misaki Morizono; that is her favoured style on the forehand, fast and low. “I decided that after the service I would attack as hard as I could”, she continued. “If the ball came back then I tried to play consistently and play topspins.”
Misaki Morizono did just that; she was extremely consistent and interspersed her topspin play with push strokes. However, the key to her success lay in the fact that when the chance arose she could hit the ball past the defender.
“All the time I kept looking for a chance to play strongly”, Misaki Morizono explained. “When I got the chance I smashed the ball as hard as I could.”
The fact that she was able to change from consistent topspin a fast stroke with minimal topspin caused problems; it won the day and it is a skill that relatively few players possess. Some are good at playing with topspin but weak when trying to smash the ball, others are the reverse, Misaki Morizono has both skills.
Less than one day earlier Shen Yanwen had lost in the final of the Cadet Girls’ Team event to Misaki Morizono’s colleague Kasumi Ishikawa, a result that no doubt gave her confidence when facing the top seed.
“Oh yes Kasumi’s win definitely helped!” said Misaki Morizono. “Last night I watched the video of that match and this morning I practised with Asuka Machi, she’s a defender.
Misaki Morizono was well prepared and the girl who was born in Tokyo but now attends Omori High School had emerged successful; she had given a most mature performance.
One day earlier against Lee Ho Ching she had won in four games, one day later she beat Shen Yanwen; the former an attacker, the latter a defender. Against two totally different styles of play she had reigned supreme and underlined the fact that even at the young age of fourteen she is a most complete player.