by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Zhu Yuling extracted revenge in a most controlled manner; she emerged successful in three straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
In Wuxi, playing fast from backhand, creating angles, Miu Hirano had created problem after problem for Zhu Yuling; quickly, she had found a rhythm to her play, a high tempo. Also, she had employed a wide variety of services and service returns that had posed questions; in Ahmedabad, she followed the ploy but not with the same level of success.
Consistency is a major hallmark of Zhu Yuling’s play; playing more from the centre of the table, she weathered any potential storm and mentally asserted her authority on proceedings. Leading 10-7 in the third game, one point away from victory, Li Sun, the Chinese national coach sitting courtside, called “Time Out”. It was a reminder for Zhu Yuling of what was necessary, keep following the plan, keep the ball on the table, cover the angles; the first game point was saved, not the second.
A straight games success for Zhu Yuling; it was the same for Liu Shiwen against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.6 seed (11-8, 11-5, 11-6). Impressive performances, Kasumi Ishikawa followed suit; she accounted for Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.5 seed, in four games (12-10, 11-6, 3-11, 11-5).
Three players with unbeaten records and there was one more; Chen Szu-Yu, the no.12 seed, who earlier in the day had caused an upset by beating Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9) maintained her good form and continued to upset the order of merit; she overcame Korea’s Suh Hyowon, the no.8 seed (6-11, 15-13, 16-14, 11-5).
The result means that Kasumi Ishikawa and Chen Szu-Yu are guaranteed places in the main draw; the decision is as to who will eventually top the group.
Meanwhile, in the same group as Zhu Yuling, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.9 seed, beat Singapore’s Yu Mengyu, the no.10 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-5); in the same group as Liu Shiwen, Lee Ho Ching, also from Hong Kong and the no.11 seed, opened her account, she caused Korea more heartaches by overcoming Yang Haeun, the no.7 seed (11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Success for Hong Kong, in the group for the regions, it was success for Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and India Manika Batra; both maintained their unbeaten records. Suthasini Sawettabut beat Qatar’s Ai Mohamed (11-1, 11-1, 11-4); Manika Batra accounted for Iran’s Neda Shahsavari (11-5, 11-8, 11-6),
The contest between Suthasini Sawettabut and Maika Batra will decide which player advances to the preliminary round.