by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
After the end of the third game, Yang Haeun was in the ascendancy but with the forehand of the 24 year old German ever more potent; Sabina Winter fought back.
Furthermore, as the match progressed, she was able to match the strength of her Korean opponent; she was able to succeed in rallies, where the backhand was the predominant weapon.
It was only the second occasion in eight contests on the international scene when Sabine Winter had beaten Yang Haeun but notably it was the second in succession.
Earlier this year in April, she had beaten Yang Haeun in the second round of the Women’s Singles event at the ITTF World Tour Polish Open; prior to that encounter, the verdict had always gone in favour of the Korean.
Defeat for one World champion, Yang Haeun being the winner of the Mixed Doubles event in partnership with China’s Xu Xin at the Qoros 2016 World Championships in Suzhou; for another it was success.
Feng Tianwei, the top seed, who in 2010 had so memorably led Singapore to gold at the Liebherr World Team Championships in Moscow, beat Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-8); her strong forehand proving a telling factor as somewhat appropriately she followed the advice of Chen Zhibin.
Now the national coach for the Singaporean Women’s Team, few players in the world have ever possessed a forehand as fluent as that of the former Chinese international.
One year ago in Sendai, Dina Meshref became the first ever player from Africa to progress to the second stage of affairs at a Women’s World Cup; in Philadelphia, she achieved the same feat and she did cause Feng Tianwei more than a few moments of concern.
It was the first time that Feng Tianwei and Dina Meshref had met; for the 22 year old Cairo University student it was a lesson from which she could take great pride.
The contest in Philadelphia was the first time Dina Meshref and Feng Tianwei had confronted each other.