by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success against expectations for Zeng Jian but she was not alone; Hina Hayata also upset the pecking order as Japanese players imposed their authority on proceedings.
Hina Hayata, the no.12 seed, beat Germany’s Shan Xiaona, the no.7 seed (11-6, 14-16, 13-11, 12-10, 11-5) and thus underlined her capability of being able to adapt the different styles of play.
Shan Xiaona is a right handed pen-hold grip player, short pimpled rubber, staying close to the table; it is a style even in Japan that Hina Hayata will rarely have confronted and one that was already out of fashion before the 16 year old Japanese teenager was born.
Victory for Hina Hayata means that at the very least, Japan is guaranteed a place in the Women’s Singles semi-finals; in fact judging by current form, a place in the final is a distinct possibility.
The only player who can prevent such a scenario is Zeng Jian who, in the round of the last eight confronts the in-form player of the moment. She meets, Miu Hirano, the no.5 seed; in the second round the newly crowned Asian champion overcame the host nation’s Yang Haeun, the no.6 seed (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).
Meanwhile, for Hina Hayata; compatriot Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, awaits. She booked her last eight place courtesy of success in an all-Japanese duel against Sakura Mori, the no.16 seed (8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 13-11, 11-2).
The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 22nd April.