by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The win for Sun Yingsha means that her career record on the ITTF World Tour reads ten matches played, ten matches won; the journey having started in Tokyo on Wednesday 14th June.
Against Feng Tianwei, Sun Yingsha proved the model player. Notably when rallies occurred, she was in the ascendancy; her short efficient strokes, superb balance and innate sense of anticipation, kept her more experienced Singaporean adversary consistently under pressure. The effect was that Feng Tianwei made errors, as her 16 year old adversary gained in confidence.
“I’m in good form today; I was able to implement what I have been doing in training for this match; this is my best performance at the China Open so far, I really wanted to win, as it is the last match in the tournament against a foreign player. Today I could basically anticipate where the ball was going. She was well prepared as well but my performance and adaptation on court was not too bad.” Sun Yingsha
Searching for answers, after losing the first two games, there was a glimmer of hope for Feng Tianwei in the third. She trailed 2-5, elected for “Time Out” and then won four of the next five points to level at 6-all. However, Feng Tianwei was never able to take advantage of the situation, she was never able to gain a lead; Sun Yingsha secured the game by the narrowest of margins before asserting her authority on proceedings to win the fourth.
“I think I was too slow today, in the execution of the first three shots and generally in the whole match. My physical strength has gone down through playing so many tournaments, so this is something young players have an advantage over me. She’s also faster and more advanced in terms of skills, so I wasn’t able to cope with that during the match.” Feng Tianwei
Asserting authority, in the ensuing contest it was Kasumi Ishikawa who asserted authority at the start of proceedings against Liu Shiwen. She won the first five points of the match eventually securing the game by the minimal two point margin.
Liu Shiwen recovered to capture the second but in the third trailed 4-8; she won the next two points. Mika Baba, the Japanese national coach on duty, called “Time Out”. The break was no doubt believed necessary to stem the momentum being built by Liu Shiwen; however, the next two serves were both those of Liu Shiwen. She took full advantage of the situation before at her second attempt securing the game an a vital two-one lead.
A crucial game had been secured, more relaxed Liu Shiwen won the fourth game with a degree of comfort; to her great credit, Kasumi Ishikawa fought for the cause but at 10-9 in the fifth, it was match point to Liu Shiwen. The match point was saved; two opportunities followed for Kasumi Ishikawa before on her second match point at 13-12, Liu Shiwen secured victory.
The semi-final contest between Liu Shiwen and Sun Yingsha is scheduled for later in the day at 7.15pm (local time).