by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Some three hours later, once again Hina Hayata upset the seeding and once again caused Hitomi Sato, the no.4 seed, anguish.
Occupying the no.9 seeded position in the draw she overcame the defensive skills of her colleague in five games (11-8, 15-17, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).
Notably, it was the fifth time that the two had met on the international stage, the result underlining both the improvement and maturity in the play of Hina Hayata, who at 17 years of age is three years younger than Hitomi Sato.
On the ITTF World Tour, in 2015 Hitomi Sato prevailed when the two met Philippines and Australia. Significantly, in 2016, Hina Hayata won when they confronted each other in Germany and Australia. Now Hina Hayata has made it three in a row.
One win against expectations that involved two players from Japan as play commenced in the top half of the draw in the second round of the Women’s Singles event; there was one more.
Yui Hamamoto, the no.13 seed, accounted for Sakura Mori, the no.8 seed (11-3, 10-12, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7); a surprise in terms of status, it was the same when past results were considered. They had met on two prior occasions internationally, both on the ITTF World Tour; in 2014 Sakura Mori had won in Belarus and again two years later in China.
A hard fought quarter-final win for Yui Hamamoto; it was the very same for colleague and top seed, Kasumi Ishikawa, she needed the full seven games to beat Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, the no.12 seed (12-10, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7).
Quarter-final places for three Japanese players secured but not for a fourth as matches in the top half of the Women’s Singles draw progressed.
More experienced and more powerful, Chinese Taipei’s 33 year old Huang Yi-Hua, who in March 2011 had reached no.17 on the Women’s World Rankings, ended the hopes of fellow qualifier, 21 years of age Mizuki Morizono (11-0, 11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10).
At the quarter-final stage Kasumi Ishikawa meets Huang Yi-Hua, Yui Hamamoto opposes Hina Hayata.
The quarter-final matches in the Women’s Singles event are scheduled to start at 10.00am (local time) on Saturday 26th August.