by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The win underlines the immense depth of talent in current Japanese female ranks; also it endorses the fact, Minami Ando is a fast learner.
Last year in Japan, Minami Ando was beaten by Portugal’s Shao Jieni in the preliminary stage of the Women’s Singles event (11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8). Notably, later in the year, she emerged successful at the Finlandia Open in Lohja; she accounted for Russia’s Antonina Savelyeva (11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8,11-4) in the title deciding contest.
Signs of progress, but even more definitive signs this year; in the final of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the ITTF Challenge Thailand Open in Bangkok some three weeks ago, she was beaten by colleague Saki Shibata in the final (11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8).
In the final in Incheon, she overcame Saki Shibata to secure the title (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6).
Also, in Thailand, she experienced defeat at the hands of Honoka Hashimoto (12-10, 11-6, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6); the round exactly the same as in Incheon, the second round. Now once again Minami Ando has reversed the Bangkok verdict; quick learner.
Minami Ando now meets Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the top seed, in the last eight; in the same half of the draw, Korea’s Choi Hyojoo confronts Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu.
In the second round of proceedings, Feng Tianwei accounted for the host nation’s Jeon Jihee, the no.9 seed (11-5, 11-13, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6) and thus maintained her unblemished record against the Korean. They have now met seven times in World ranking events; Feng Tianwei has won all seven.
Impressive from Feng Tianwei; it was the same from Choi Hyjoo and Chen Szu, who like Minami Ando and Honoka Hashimoto, were involved in contests where all the players on view had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.
Choi Hyojoo accounted for Japan’s Miyu Kato (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5); Chen Szu-Yu ended the aspirations of Lee Zion, like Choi Hyojoo from Korea. She emerged successful in five games (16-14, 11-2, 10-12, 12-10, 11-4).
Matches in the lower half of the Women’s Singles second round draw will be played later in the day.