29 Apr 2017

Convincing performances, Japan’s Saki Shibata and Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz duly reserved their places in the final of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open in Otocec on the morning of Saturday 29th April.

In imposing fashions they underlined the reasons why they are the respective top two seeded names.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

At the quarter-final stage of proceedings, Saki Shibata proved too strong for Korea’s 12 year old Shin Yubin (11-9, 11-5, 11-5), before in a somewhat similar manner overcoming Thailand’s Tamolwan Khetkhuen, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-4, 11-8), the narrow winner the previous round in opposition to Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic (11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-9).

Impressive victory margins but life had been more exacting the previous evening; against Belgium’s Lisa Lung; bronze medallist earlier this year in Sochi at the European Under 21 Championships, it had been a much different story. Saki Shibata had been required to recover from a two games to one deficit to secure success (5-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-3).

Meanwhile, for Adriana Diaz in the latter rounds, success in four games was the outcome; the semi-final win against Chinese Taipei’s 20 year old Huang Yu-Wen underlining the progress that the 16 year old Puerto Rican has made in recent years.

At the Nikon Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open in 2011, when Adriana Diaz was only 10 years old, she had been beaten by Huang Yu-Wen in three straight games in the Cadet Girls’ Team event.

Now some six years later it was a very different story; Adriana Diaz emerged successful in some style (12-14, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

Earlier, in the round of the last eight, Adriana Diaz had beaten Japan’s 12 year old Miyuu Kihara, the no.8 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9), having the previous evening ended the hopes of Russia’s Maria Tailakova, the no.10 seed and winner of the Cadet Girls’ Singles title at the 2016 European Youth Championships.

The final is scheduled for later today at 5.00pm (local time).

Challenge Series 2017 Slovenian Open Adriana Diaz Saki Shibata

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