by Simon Daish
Magnificent Mori Shines
Sakura Mori entered the category seeded sixth and without a BYE for the opening round, but that didn’t affect the Japanese player one bit as she raced to a 3-0 win against Lee Rou You (Malaysia).
Next up was fellow compatriot Yui Hamamoto, who is ranked almost 40 spots higher than Mori in the world. This was Hamamoto’s first match of the Open, so a slow start was understandable due to the lack of match play compared to Mori in Chengdu.
However, after winning back-to-back games (1-11, 1-11) and moving 1-2 in front on games, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Hamamoto went wrong. Sitting comfortable in the tie and with just one more end required, a Yui Hamamoto victory could have been predicted. But Sakura Mori had other ideas, stealing games four and five to seal her passage through to the last four (11-8, 1-11, 1-11, 11-8, 11-6).
Doo Hoi Kem (Hong Kong) awaits Sakura Mori in the semi-finals in what is expected to be a cracking encounter. The number one seed (Doo) overcame Chinese Taipei qualifier Li Yu-Jhun in four ends to stay on track for gold.
Rising Star from Singapore
Singapore will also have a contestant in the last four, following a strong outing from Zeng Jian (second seed).
Zeng was up against Lin Po-Hsuan (Chinese Taipei) in the quarter-finals, and although the Singapore player won the tie 3-0 all three games were close (11-9, 11-7, 12-10),“The competition was very fierce in the last phrase of the third game” said Zeng. “At that time, I just told myself to be confident and played point by point! ”
Fans from Singapore have brought up the possibility that Zeng Jian could replace fellow countrywoman Feng Tianwei as the biggest threat to the powerful Chinese team, but Zeng insists that she still has much to learn about her game:
“Thanks to fans for supporting me. But at present, I am still very young and have a long way to go. I will learn from Feng Tianwei and make more progress in the future.” – Zeng Jian (Singapore).
The next opponent for Zeng is Japan’s Miyu Maeda, after she beat Kim Haeun (Korea Republic) and Lin Ye (Singapore) in the last 16 and last eight respectively.
Wednesday 14th September: Under 21 Women’s Singles – Main Draw