by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Star of the show for Germany was 33 year old Han Ying, her exquisite defensive skills proving the telling factor in a hard fought contest.
In the opening match of the engagement she beat Lee Ho Ching in three straight games (11-6, 11-3, 11-4), before in the fourth and concluding duel of the fixture she overcame Tie Yana in four games (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3 ).
Expedite Rule Invoked
It was a contest shrowded not in conflict but in confusion; at 10-6 in the third game in favour of Han Ying, the Expedite Rule was enforced, the game having lasted 10 minutes. It meant that the service was alternate with the receiver of service winning the point if making an effective 13th return.
Strangely there was confusion as to who should serve, a lengthy discussion followed but surely the situation was clear.
At 10-6 the service changes whatever the situation whether Expedite or not. Han Ying had completed her two services so it was the turn of Tie Yana to serve. Was the decision not clear and the four or five minute break a waste of time, which nobody watching where in the hall or on television understood?
Han Ying responded to the situation. In fact, whilst she is a defensive player of the very highest order; when a positive approach was needed, her attacking skills are also from the book of technical excellence!
“I was quite clear what I needed to do when we reached Expedite. I have played under the rule many times; when I am serving I usually wait seven or eight returns before I try to attack, as the fifth game progressed I became more confident and attacked sooner.” Han Ying
Words of Comfort
Sandwiched in between, Doo Hoi Kem had saved match points before beating Petrissa Solja by the very narrowest of five game margins (9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12); the defeat clearly hurt Petrissa Solja, an arm around the shoulder from her doubles partner, Shan Xiaona was solace.
“I told Petrissa after she lost to Doo Hoi Kem that she had played well and it was over, I told her that the doubles was very important for the team.” Shan Xiaona
The two returned to the table and duly recorded a convincing victory; they beat Lee Ho Ching and Tie Yana in three straight games (11-7, 11-3, 12-10).
At the semi-final stage, Germany meets Japan, the no.4 seeds, the fixture is scheduled for 10.00 am on Monday 15th August.