by Simon Daish
Japan’s Miu Hirano stunned the world of table tennis only a couple of months back when she became the youngest player to win the Women’s World Cup at the tournament in Philadelphia, USA in October 2016. However, the top seed for the World Junior Championships hasn’t been able to replicate that winning performance in the Girls’ Singles event after being knocked out in last eight by China’s Shi Xunyao.
Heading into the match Miu Hirano had dropped just the one game in the category when she beat Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh in five ends, but the Japanese player never managed to get going against Shi Xunyao as the No.26 seed raced to a 4-0 triumph (11-5, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3) to register arguably the standout result of the round.
“I think the Chinese player deployed another tactic today to overcome me. Winning against them in the team event has nothing to do with my loss. I have learnt my lessons from all the defeats and I hope to practice before heading to World Tour Grand Finals in Qatar. The loss here will not affect my performance in Doha as I will try my best over there” – Miu Hirano (Japan) following her defeat to Sho Xunyao.
Success for one Chinese contestant, but Shi Xunyao will not be joined by her colleague Sun Yizhen in the semi-finals after the latter player fell to the No.13 seed Mak Tze Wing of Hong Kong in their last eight duel (6-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-3, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11).
The bottom half of the draw saw Romania’s Adina Diaconu inflict a straight games defeat upon Kim Youjin of Korea Republic; Kim Youjin picked up a surprise victory over the No.2 seed Mima Ito in the Round of 32 earlier in the day, but unfortunately for the Korean athlete there was to be no repeat of that upset in her quarter-finals match as Adina Diaconu waltzed to the finish line (11-7, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7) and will take on Mak Tze Wing for a place in the final.
“It was not that easy based on the result. I was so stressed during the match but I remained focused from the beginning to the end. I knew that I had nothing to lose because I just wanted to give my best” – Adina Diaconu (Romania).
Miyu Kato completes the semi-finals lineup after the Japanese competitor saw off Korea Republic’s Kim Jiho with a 4-0 win (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 11-2) to set up a tie with Shi Xunyao of China.