17 Dec 2016

Japanese players abundant, here there and everywhere, but it was Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz who emerged successful in the Women’s Singles event at the United States Open in Las Vegas on Friday 16th December, the penultimate day of play in the six day tournament.

Impressively the 16 year old from the small Caribbean island won the hearts of the locals as she added yet another title to her collection in somewhat unusual circumstances; in every round she beat adversaries from the Land of the Rising Sun.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The no.2 seed, at the final hurdle she overcame Saki Tashiro, the no.3 seed (5-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6, 12-10) to claim the title, having at the quarter-final stage experienced the most severe test of the whole event.

After beating Takako Nagao in her opening contest (11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7), she was extended the full seven games by Yui Odono, only emerging successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (6-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9).

A difficult hurdle overcome, she accounted for Yume Takahashi in the penultimate round (11-13, 11-9, 11-4, 15-13, 11-5) to reserve her place in the final where the good form was maintained to secure the title.

In the opposite half of the draw, in the latter stages Saki Tashiro had beaten colleagues Moriko Takahashi in the round of the last eight (11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7), prior to ousting Yuki Matsumoto in the semi-finals (11-6, 11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7).

Notably, earlier in the proceedings Yuki Matsumoto had received a walk-over against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the top seed; likewise Kae Kabasawa had received the same benefit when due to meet Zheng Jiaqi of the United States, the no.3 seed alongside Saki Tashiro. Kae Kabasawa was beaten by Yume Takahashi in the quarter-finals (11-8, 4-11, 11-5, 5-11, 14-12, 11-7).

Success for Adriana Diaz, in the Men’s Singles event, it was success for the host nation’s Wang Wei; not listed amongst the leading names, he accounted colleague Bob Chen in the final (9-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-7, 15-13), having earlier recorded notable semi-final and quarter-final successes.

He beat China’s Hou Yingchao, the mercurial defender who won the Men’s Singles title at the 2006 ITTF World Tour Russian Open in St Petersburg (14-12, 11-13, 8-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8); having one round earlier ousted top seed, Japan’s Kenji Matsudaira (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7).

In the counterpart half of the draw, Bob Chen had ousted United States colleague, Kanak Jha in the round of the last eight (14-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4), before ending the hopes of Japan’s Takuya Jin, the no.2 seed, in the penultimate round (6-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8).

Surprise finalists, Wang Wei and Bob Chen were not listed amongst the top 16 names in an event that witnessed the joint third seeds, departing in their opening encounters.

Sweden’s Victor Brodd was beaten by Bon Chen (11-6, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9); the Slovak Republic’s Thomas Keinath lost to Hou Yingchao (11-7, 11-6, 11-8, 11-2).

Play in Las Vegas concludes on Saturday 17th December with play the finals of the Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events, in addition to the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles competitions.

United States Open: Lists of players and detailed results

United States Open: Matt Hetherington reports – Adriana Diaz Takes the Title and The Hearts of the Crowd

General News Adriana Diaz