by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen, the top seeds, progressed without due alarm; at the quarter-final stage they overcame Germany’s Han Ying and Shan Xiaona, the no.7 seeds, in three straight games (11-4, 12-10, 15-13), before overcoming Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.3 seeds (11-5, 11-4, 11-6).
A spirited effort from the combination of Han Ying and Shan Xiaona, it was very much the same from Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.2 seeds.
After accounting for Huang Yu-Chiao and Wang Yi-Ju (11-4, 11-3, 11-6), the Koreans extended Cheng Meng and Zhu Yuling, the no.4 seeds, the full five games distance (11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7).
Seeding suggested that Koreans started the favourites but the pedigree of success harboured by the Chinese duo, Asian champions in 2014 and runners up less than a month ago at the Liebherr World Championships, suggested otherwise.
Victory in five games in the penultimate round for Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling; one round earlier life had been somewhat more comfortable. In the round of the last eight pair, they had accounted for Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the no.5 seeds (13-11, 11-3, 11-6).
Defeat for Hina Hayata and Mima Ito but they are becoming a force with which to be reckoned. In recent times it has only been Chinese pairs who have halted progress; at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships they were bronze medallists. They were beaten by Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen.
The final of the Women’s Doubles event is scheduled for 2.00pm (local time) on Sunday 25th June.