by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Following the win recorded by Miu Hirano, Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, emerged successful in the all Japanese duel, overcoming Hina Hayata, the no.12 seed, by a similar margin (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8).
Success for Miu Hirano means she avenges the defeat experienced in the one previous meeting on the international scene when facing Zeng Jian; at the quarter-final stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the 2016 ITTF World Tour German Open in Magdeburg, Zeng Jian prevailed (12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5).
However, since that meeting, now approaching 15 months ago, much has happened in the life of Miu Hirano; the win recorded in Magdeburg was a upset, Miu Hirano was the top seed but it was not headline gabbing as it would have been in Incheon had Zhang Jian repeated the feat.
Success for Miu Hirano and one has to salute the way she plays. She appears to treat every player as a player regardless of pedigree; she plays with any hint of fear, no nerves, just increasing sheer enjoyment.
Furthermore, Zeng Jian is no mean performer and in good form. Listed at no.25 on the current Women’s World Rankings, one round earlier she beat Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, named in the no.6 spot (8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 20-18, 11-5, 6-11, 11-4).
Meanwhile, some three weeks ago at the ITTF Challenge Thailand Open, she won the Under 21 Women’s Singles event beating colleague Lin Ye on the final before advancing to the Women’s Singles semi-finals where Hito Sato, the eventual winner and like Miu Hirano from Japan, ended aspirations.
The semi-final contest between Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa will be played later today.