by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
They beat Japan’s Miu Hirano and Mima Ito, the top seeds; the pair that owns a place in the Guinness Book of Records, following their Women’s Doubles success at the 2014 ITTF World Tour German Open, when each was just 13 years old.
Impressively in Cape Town, the Chinese duo beat the world record holders in four games (10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9).
“We didn’t expect that we would be able to win because Ito and Hirano are a very strong doubles pair; this is also the first time we are pairing up for doubles. So we came into the match just wanting play the best we could. In the first game, they were very stable and made almost no errors; on the other hand panicked a little at 6-2. After losing the first game, we changed our spin and the placement of the ball and that worked”, Liu Weishan (after the victory against Miu Hirano and Mima Ito)
Alas for Liu Weishan and Sun Yizhen, two hours later in the third round of proceedings, it was defeat; after establishing a two games to nil lead, they were beaten by Hong Kong’s Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau, the no.16 seeds, in five games (9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-7).
Defeat for Liu Weishan and Sun Yizhen, there was also defeat for colleagues Shi Xunyao and Yuan Yuan, in a contest where Japan extracted revenge; the no.19 seeds, they were beaten by Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato, the no.2 seeds (11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9).
Thus with defeats for both Chinese pairs, it means that for the first time ever, since Li Xiaoxia and Li Qian won in the inaugural tournament in Santiago, Chile in 2003, the Girls’ Doubles title will not be won by a Chinese partnerships. After 13 editions, the run of Chinese success is over.
Success for Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau, they emerged as one of two surprise partnerships to reach the quarter-final round; the other being the Belgian duo comprising Eline Loyen and Lisa Lung. The no.10 seeds, in the third round, they accounted for the Russian combination of Maria Tailakova and Valeria Shcherbatykh, the no.7 seeds (11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8).
Otherwise, the leading pairs reserved places in the round of the last eight with Hong Kong enjoying more success. Mak Tze Wing and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.3 seeds, overcame Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku and Sabina Surjan, the no.13 seeds (11-6, 11-1, 11-7).
Similarly, there was notable success for France. Leili Mostafavi and Audrey Zarif, the no.6 seeds, beat Korea’s Heo Miryeo and Kim Youjin, the no.25 seeds (11-9, 11-13, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7); Oceane Guisnel and Marie Migot, the no.8 seeds, defeated Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yu-Chin and Wu Yi-Hua (11-5, 4-11, 11-3, 11-8).
A successful third round negotiated by French pairings; it was the same for their European colleagues, Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman. The no.4 seeds, they ended the hopes of Russia’s Daria Chernoray and Maria Malanina, the no.9 seeds (11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-6).
At the quarter-final stage, Liu Qi and Wong Chin Yau meet Korea’s Kang Dayeon and Kim Jiho, the no.5 seeds and third round winners against Amy Wang and Crystal Wang of the United States, the no.11 seeds (13-11, 11-8, 11-6).
Also in the same half of the draw, Oceane Guisnel and Marie Migot oppose Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman, thus guaranteeing Europe a medal; whilst in the opposite half of the draw Mak Tze Wing and Minnie Soo Wai Yam face Eline Loyen and Lisa Lung. Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato oppose Leili Mostafavi in Audrey Zarif.
The quarter and semi-final matches will be played on Tuesday 6th December.