17 Apr 2017

After knocking off Olympic Champion and current world no.1 Ding Ning yesterday, the 17-year old Japanese sensation Miu Hirano continued her winning streak as she beat world no.2 China's Zhu Yuling in the semi finals of the women's singles today, 15th April 2017 at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships in Wuxi, China.

By Neha Aggarwal

Impressively she beat the defending champion of the tournament, Zhu Yuling in style. To everyone’s surprise, in a straight 3-0 match! Hirano won 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.

Right from the word go, Hirano was positive, and took the initiative. She never backed away from the table, and maintained her balance. She stayed closer to the table than Zhu Yuling, the point of contact for every ball was right at the sweet spot.

“I’m very very happy to be able to win today. Zhu Yuling is very strong, so I’m very excited to be able to defeat her and make it into the final.”- Miu Hirano 

Hirano was coached by Mika Baba, who was clearly a big support, as she stood up from her chair each time Hirano won a point. This fresh face from Japan shone so bright today at the Wuxi, that even the stars smiled as Hirano jumped in joy after her win.

“I didn’t play my first 3 strokes well, not firmed enough in handling that. The second game, when I was leading, I also did not receive her serve well. I wasn’t very sure when playing the first 3 strokes and I had a hard time controlling the game in my own pace. I could not attack because of her playing style,” admitted Zhu Yuling after the match.

But more than anything else, it was Hirano’s serves that caused her the biggest problems.

Then again it’s the serve that caused me troubles when I led 8-4, 9-7 in the second game. We have to go back and study more on Hirano’s serves, I made several errors while trying to receive her serves, and that disturbed my rhythm.”- Zhu Yuling

Chinese coach Li Sun, appeared perplexed. He confessed though, “It’s a crucial path for Zhu Yuling’s development, she’s too eager to win, so she wasn’t able to play and carry out the planned tactics.”

Already achieving the feat of being the youngest Women’s World Cup winner, Miu Hirano achieved a new feat at the Asian Championship already. Yesterday she knocked out the reigning World Champion, Olympic Champion and world no.1 Ding Ning and today, she thrashed the world no.2 Zhu Yuling.

The ITTF Publications Editor, Ian Marshall says, ” When was the last time leading Chinese players lost to foreigners in the same tournament? Maybe 1993 World Championships in Gothenburg when Hyun Hyungwa (Korea Republic) became the World champion. This is a wake up call for China.”

Fifth seend Chen Meng out staged second seed Liu Shiwen (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11) to make her way to the finals. Chen Meng was very strong from backhand, she often served from the middle of the table so she could play her backhand on the first attack.

In the fourth game, Chen Meng was trailing 1-5, but level at 8-8. Liu Shiwen kept getting back in the game saving match points at 10-8, 10-9. But Chen took a time out at 10-9, gathered her breath and then at match point at 12-11, took the plunge and finished off the match 13-11 to enter the finals.

Miu Hirano will now face China’s Chen Meng in the finals to be played at 18:45 local time. Watch LIVE: ITTF’s Youtube Channel

Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships liu shiwen Zhu Yuling Miu Hirano Cheng Meng

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