by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Defeats in the initial stage; it was the same in the round of the last eight.
Zhang Mo imposed her authority on proceedings from the very start; Gui Lin never able to find the form that had seen her secure a Women’s Singles silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. Impressively Zhang Mo won in five games (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-6).
“We know each other well, we have practised together many times; Gui Lin was not at her best today. It is high here, the ball travels very fast, it doesn’t suit me; however, as the match progressed I became more confident in the rallies.” Zhang Mo
Similarly, it was an impressive performance by Lily Zhang against Caroline Kumahara. Each game hard fought but it was the North American who held the aces at the vital moments. Likewise she won in five games (11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“After the third game I had to adjust; I won the first two games quite comfortably but in the third she attacked my middle. Basically the adjustment I needed to make was to be prepared to attack her middle. She received served well with her backhand top spin stroke, so I had to make sure I played a quality first attack.” Lily Zhang
Success for Lily Zhang; there was also success for her colleague, Wu Yue. She proved too consistent for the ever improving Eva Brito of the Dominican Republic (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4).
“I like her style of play, I felt comfortable today. I played consistently; this was a good match to prepare myself for the semi-final.” Wu Yue
Fine performances but the player to catch the eye was Chile’s Paulina Vega; full of energy, encouraging herself vocally after winning a point. She accounted for Colombia’s Paula Medina in six games (11-9, 11-4, 10-12, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).
“Serve and receive, it was always close; she won her two serves, I won mine but if I could just win a point on her serves then it gave me a big chance. I lost four-three to Paula earlier this year at the ITTF Challenge Chile Open, so I knew it would be close. I think now I am playing at a higher level; most certainly, I’m really happy.” Paulina Vega
Success for Paulina Vega, the only remaining player from Latin America; thus a place in the Women’s World Cup is reserved; for Zhang Mo, Wu Yu and Lily Zhang, the fight for the precious place continues.
At the semi-final stage Zhang Mo meets Paulina Vega; Wu Yue opposes Lily Zhang.
Photos: Herbert Arly and Carlos Borban