by Wade Townsend
Saki Shibata has knocked out no.2 seed, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event (6-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 11-6). Feng seemed to have the match under control in the first two games, but Shibata surprised everyone, including herself, by winning the match.
“I can’t believe that I won! For me all the players are strong so there is no stress when I play.” Saki Shibata
While not the name that everyone associates with Japanese team, Shibata has a clear goal in mind.
“I want to be strong enough so the Chinese team will study me like they do Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa.” Saki Shibata
Meanwhile Japanese superstar Miu Hirano couldn’t quite find her rhythm against China’s Gu Yuting (11-13, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7). It will be back to the drawing board for the 17 year old as the Chinese team has obviously found a way to remove the thorn in their side that was Miu Hirano.
Japan’s biggest names continued to collapse as China’ Zhang Qiang defeated Japan’s no.7 seed Mima Ito (8-11, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7, 11-7) booking a place in the second against the odds.
Ito looked to have control of the match early on, and was close to a two game lead. But any chance of victory soon slipped through Ito’s fingers as that game went against her 12-10. Zhang took a stronghold of the match and wasn’t letting go.
“It’s my first time playing her but my coach and I had a tactic going in to the match. Ito is very fast on her first few attacks so I had to be more stable and more active.” Zhang Qiang
Zhang isn’t just enjoying her good form on the table, she also has been taking some time to enjoy the warm winter weather.
“It’s also my first time in Australia and the weather and water here are so beautiful!” Zhang Qiang
Checkout the full results from the first round of the Women’s Singles here.