by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Each game was closely contested, neither player really able to assert their authority; the verdict eventually resulting as current status predicted. Cheng I-Ching, the no.2 seed, beat Tie Yana, the no.6 seed in six games (8-11, 15-13, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).
In Philadelphia, the meeting between Cheng I-Ching and Tie Yana was their seventh on the international stage; of the proceedings contests, Cheng I-Ching had won just one of those encounters.
However, arguably that duel was the most relevant; it was the most recent. Earlier this year Cheng I-Ching had emerged successful in a full distance five games duel in the quarter-final contest in the Women’s event at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships.
Furthermore, it was a crucial win, pivotal to the eventual three-two Chinese Taipei success. Earlier, in the opening match of the engagement, Doo Hoi Kem had beaten Chen Szu-Yu to give Hong Kong the advantage. Cheng I-Ching had proved she could respond to a pressure situation.
Earlier results between the two players, which dated back a decade to the 2006 Chinese Taipei Open, were less relevant; Cheng I-Ching and Tie Yana are from different generations. Cheng I-Ching is 24 years of age; Tie Yana is now 37 years old.
In Philadelphia, the crucial stage of the contest came in the fifth game; matters level at two games apiece, Cheng I-Ching trailed 8-9, playing positively, employing her forehand top spin stroke to the full, she won the next three points. A one game advantage had been established.
Confidence growing, Cheng I-Ching established a 3-1 lead in the sixth game; Tie Yana elected for “Time Out”, it was to no avail.
“I was late substitute for this tournament, so I was pretty relaxed today; I just try my best”, Cheng I-Ching
Cheng I-Ching accelerated; for the player who in her two previous appearances in a Women’s World Cup competition had departed in the opening round, it was new heights; for Tie Yana it was her eighth defeat in nine semi-finals.
Only once has Tie Yana emerged successful in the penultimate round at a Women’s World Cup and perhaps, in Philadelphia, she may have wished she was in the opposite half of the draw.
At the Volkswagen 2008 Women’s World Cup in Kuala Lumpur she beat Singapore’s Feng Tianwei in the penultimate round before losing to China’s Li Xiaoxia.
In the counterpart semi-final in Philadelphia, Feng Tianwei meets Japan’s Miu Hirano.