by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Occupying the no.7 seeded position in the tournament, she accounted for Sweden’s Li Fen, the no.4 seed and 2013 European champion in five games (5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5).
Success for Saki Shibata and there was also for her colleague, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.2 seed; the overall effect being that Japan is guaranteed a place in the final. Both Saki Shibata and Honoka Hashimoto are in the same half of the draw and thus meet in the penultimate round.
Extolling her ever increasingly reliable defensive skills, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.2 seed, justified her high status by overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Liu Hsing-Yin in four straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3).
Meanwhile in the opposite half of the draw, Austria’s Sofia Polcanova kept the flag flying for Europe. The no.6 seed, she ended the adventures of Korean qualifier, Park Jopohyun; however, the result was almost not as status advised. Sofia Polcanova had to withstand a spirited recovery from the 23 year old before eventually emerging successful in seven games (11-4, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 14-16, 8-11, 11-5).
Hard earned success; Sofia Polcanova now meets Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut. The no.8 seed, she accounted for colleague Tamolwan Khetkhuan, the no.30 seed, to reserve her place in the last four (5-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5).
The semi-finals and final will be played on Saturday 5th May.