by Simon Daish
Facing the 14th seed Kyoka Kato in the last 16, Hina Hayata was well aware that she would have put in a strong performance if she was going to book her spot in the next round, but the match didn’t begin well for the sixth seeded player.
Dropping the opening game Hina Hayata needed to respond positively and she did exactly that, claiming four consecutive games to emerge victorious (4-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7).
Honoka Hashimoto put in a confident display in her Round of 16 match as she went head-to-head with Marina Matsuzawa.
While the opening two games were closely fought out by both competitors Honoka Hashimoto had the slight edge throughout the tie (11-8, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5) and never really looked in danger of exiting the competition.
Another young Japanese star progressing through to the quarter-finals is Mima Ito, who is looking to lift a Women’s Singles trophy for the first time on the ITTF World Tour in 2017.
Taking on Saki Shibata in a difficult fixture, Mima Ito was pushed hard and required six games (3-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 5-11) before eventually sealing her place in the next stage of the tournament.
However, the standout match of the last 16 saw Sakura Mori and Miyu Maeda play out a fierce contest which went right down to the wire.
In a topsy-turvy battle very little could separate the two players, but after seven games of intense table tennis it was Sakura Mori who came out of the match smiling (11-9, 11-8, 5-11, 4-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7).