by Simon Daish
Seeded 11th for the 2016 Swedish Open Hu Melek may have been the unexpected victor on paper when compared with Jeon Jihee’s seeding position of fifth, but the Turkish athlete’s win should come as no shock to spectators.
The previous meeting between Hu Melek and Jeon Jihee took place at the 2016 Hungarian Open with the former of the two players taking the win, and since then Hu has gone on to achieve new heights with her title victory at the 2016 European Championships in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest.
Moving forward to the present day in Stockholm, it was Hu who made the stronger start to her quarter-finals clash with Jeon after the Turkish representative took the opening two ends in a comfortable fashion. However, Jeon eventually found her footing in the tie and the Korean contestant added two game wins of her own to the scoreboard to level the playing field at 2-2.
With the scores sitting level after four games it was anyone’s guess as to who would emerge the successful competitor, and even by the conclusion of game six neither rival was able to complete the job at hand. The match was going to a seventh game and after putting in a strong shift on the table, Hu triumphed over Jeon to move through to the last four (11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6).
Another quarter-finals match to be decided in the final game was the battle between the first and 17th seeds: Kasumi Ishikawa and Li Qian.
Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa entered the tournament as one of the main favourites for the title, and so for Poland’s Li Qian to perform as well as she did in the match there is plenty for the Polish contestant to be proud of. Yet ultimately there will be disappointment for Li, who came to within a game from the victory only to lose back-to-back ends to exit the event.
While it looked as though Ishikawa was the sharper player from the start in Stockholm with her 2-1 lead, it was Li who managed to grab an important 2-3 advantage with just one more game win required to eliminate the top seed. But it was not to be for Li as her opponent Ishikawa stole the momentum right out of the No.17 seed’s sails, claiming games six and seven to narrowly escape defeat (11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-1).
The two other athletes to make the semi-finals draw were Germany’s Han Ying and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, who saw off Miyu Kato (11-9, 11-2, 11-9, 11-6) and Suh Hyowon (8-11, 7-11, 11-2, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9) respectively to book their spots against Hu Melek and Kasumi Ishikawa.
Saturday 19th November: Women’s Singles – Main Draw