By Neha Aggarwal
Battles in the round of 16
The day started off by the remaining four matches of the round of 16, all played on a beautifully laid out court here at The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
Ito Mima was in some troublesome space as she struggled to return the powerful attacks of Austria’ Sofia Polcanova. Ito Mima won the match 4-2 to move to the quarter finals but it was Polcanova Sofia who was still smiling bright after her loss. She said, “I played very good, but in the end she was just better. In the last set she risked more. I showed good performance here and hope I can do better in the future.”
The other Japanese sensation, Miu Hirano beat Romania’s Elizabeta Samara in six games. Hirano looked extremly confident since the beginning and stability in her strokes were evident from Samara’s agitation. Although putting up a good show on day one Samara gathered a lot of confidence, she was unable to transfer that today in her round of 17 encounter against the Japanese teenager.
Host nation’s Lily Zhang, despite her loss to Cheng-I-Ching, entertained the crowd by fighting her best to the last point. Cheng’s powerful forehand loops were too strong for Lily despite her strong defense. She beat Lily 1-4 to move to the quarter finals.
Sabine Winter wins hearts
What strategy should one adopt when playing the quarter finals of the World Cup against the world number 6? Sabine Winter stepped into the court with a plan in mind. She took big risks and executed the strokes with full confidence. She flexed every muscle in her body and ran every corned of the table to get the balls back. Feng was undoubtedly the better one, she caught Sabine on her backhand, her weaker end. Although Sabine Winter lost 0-4, she played the most outrageous and entertaining match of the evening.
Was Ito Mima not at her best?
Since morning, she was not herself. She looked confused, agitated and could not execute her backhand smashes and forehand topspins the way she normally does. She lost in the quarter finals against dear friend and team mate Hirano Miu 1-4 in a match she would probably not like to recall. Hirano on the other end, was consistent, powerful and quick in her attacks from both the flanks. Hirano, who had a poker face up, made Ito uncomfortable at every stage of the match. Ito was clearly uncomfortable and to everyone’s surprise, she made many unforced errors that she normally does not make. The youngest Olympic medalist in table tennis, departed the Women’s World Cup on a disappointing note.
Tie Yana and Cheng-I-Ching proved too strong
Tie Yana, the world number 18, was way too stronger for Shen Yanfie, who played the last match of her career. Although Shen utilized every aspect of her game that she possibly could, Tie Yana had answers to each of her weapons. Tie Yana won on a comfortable 1-4 margin and sailed smoothly to the semi finals.
Cheng-I-Ching, world number eight and seeded number two in the tournament defeated Austria’s Liu Jia 4-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8,11-9) and marched to the semi finals where she will play against Tie Yana. Chen, who was spotted resting as she was feeling sick, showed no signs of being uncomfortable as she went on unleashing her lethal forehands and consistent backhands. A very calm and quiet player, Cheng was moving swiftly and quick around the table thus giving nightmares to Liu Jia.
The stadium had a different look today as ESPN3 covered the matches LIVE in USA. It was different atmosphere with great in stadium entertainment. The final four places have been decided. Four women: Feng Tianwei,Hirano Miu, Tie Yana and Cheng-I-Ching will battle tomorrow for the title of the Seamaster 2016 ITTF World Cup!