by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, she overcame a player in form; just as Minami Ando had recorded a four games win against Lee Zion in the previous round (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5); so Asuka Sasao had done the same but had caused an even bigger upset. She had ousted colleague Maki Shiomi, the no.2 seed (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5).
Success for Minami Ando and it was success as status advised; Asuka Sasao was not seeded. Similarly, in the remained Women’s Singles Under 21 Women’s Singles matches, the favourites prevailed.
Korea’s Choi Hyojoo, the top seed, beat Japan’s Mizuki Morizono, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-4); meanwhile, in a reversal of fortunes for the two countries, Saki Shibata, the no.4 seed, accounted for Kim Jiho, the no.8 seed (11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7).
Notably, both wins were as past results suggested. Choi Hyojoo had confronted Mizuki Morizono on three previous occasions in ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles events. They had met in 2016 in Hungary and Sweden as well as earlier this year in Qatar. Choi Hyojoo had won all three encounters
“Although I have played against her many times before and always successful, I was pretty nervous as everyone expected me to win.” Choi Hyojoo
Likewise, at last year’s 2016 ITTF World Tour Korean Open, Saki Shibata had beaten Kim Jiho in the preliminary stage of the Women’s Singles event.
Mixed fortunes for Japan and Korea; there was further disappointment for the hosts; not seeded, 12 year old Shin Yubin, who had excelled expectations to reach the last eight, experienced defeat at the hands of Singapore’s Lin Ye, the no.5 seed (3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).
“I was very stressed before this match as my opponent was very young. At the beginning I was so nervous that I couldn´t move so I lost the first game; then I started to think more about the way I should play and became more confident.” Lin Ye
At the semi-final stage Choi Hyojoo meets Saki Shibata; Lin Ye opposes Minami Ando.