by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Ri Mi Gyong appeared to be en route to a straight games win; she won the first three games, all by the minimal two point margin, before Cha Hyo Sim responded to secure the next four to seal the victory (9-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-3, 12-10, 11-9).
Likewise, it was success by the closest of decisions for 24 year old Choe Hyon Hwa in opposition to Kim Nam Hae but somewhat of a reverse when compared with the duel between Cha Hyo Sim and Ri Mi Gyong. Choe Hyon Hwa, presently listed at no.70 on the Women’s World Rankings, withstood a spirited recovery by Kim Nam Hae to secure victory (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9).
Furthermore, it was arguably an outcome that could be predicted. In the qualification group phase of proceedings in Pyongyang; in 2015 Kim Nam Hae had beaten Choe Hyon Hwa; last year at the same stage the decision had been reversed.
Withstanding a recovery, it was the very same for Kim Sol Song against Kim Jin Hyang; she won the first three games, lost the next three, before imposing her authority on proceedings to win the decider (11-7, 11-7, 11-4, 5-11, 2-11, 10-12, 11-5).
Nervous moments but not for Kim Song I, the leading name on duty in an event that witnessed all eight quarter-finalists from DPR Korea; she was the exception to the rule. Listed at no.25 on the current Women’s World Rankings, the 22 year old beat Jong Un Ju in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4).
At the semi-final stage, Kim Song I meets Choe Hyon Hwa; in the opposite half of the draw, Cha Hyo Sim faces Kim Sol Song.
The penultimate round matches will be played on Saturday 5th August, as will the same stage contests in the Women’s Doubles event; similarly all DPR Korea affairs. Ri Hyon Sim and Ri Mi Gyong face Jong Un Ju and Kim Junju; Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae oppose Choe Hyon Hwa and Kim Song I.
In the required quarter-final duels, Jong Un Ju and Kim Jinju overcame Jong Su Gyong and Ri Pok Hyang (11-9, 11-5, 11-7); Cha Hyo Sim and Kim Nam Hae ended the hopes of Kim Sol Song and Kim Su Hyang (7-11, 11-2, 11-7, 14-12).