by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Pride of place went to Kyoka Kato, the no.3 seed who accounted for China’s Chen Ke, the no.5 seed (11-8, 12-10, 11-3); the win was as status anticipated but Chen Ke, semi-finalist in the Girls’ Singles event at the 2015 World Junior Championships, is a player of whom a great deal is expected.
A defeat for China, not necessarily against expectations but the margin of the reverse did raise eyebrows; conversely, Zhang Rui, the no.11 seed, was in no mood whatsoever for charity. She accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-Hua, the no.15 seed (11-5, 11-5, 11-5), the player who one round earlier had ended the hopes of Japan’s Maki Shiomi, the top seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
Impressive from Zhang Rui and from Kyoka Kato, it was the very same from the latter’s compatriot, Miyu Maeda, the no.4 seed; in three straight games overcame Germany’s Wan Yuan, the no.13 seed (14-12, 11-8, 11-3).
Straight games wins, for Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, life was just marginally more difficult. The no.2 seed, she needed four games to beat Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki, the no.8 seed (7-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9).
Notably, Miyu Nagasaki was a player against whom Minnie Soo Wai Yam had experienced problems in the past; at the Nikon 2016 Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open, Minnie Soo Wai Yam had needed the full five games to beat Miyu Nagasaki in the Junior Girls’ Team event.
Meanwhile, later in the year, Miyu Nagasaki had reversed the decision in the Junior Girls’ Team competition at the Hungarian Junior and Cadet Open; this time winning in five games, before later in the same tournament, Minnie Soo Wai Yam had accounted for Miyu Nagasaki at the semi-final stage of the Junior Girls’ Singles competition.
In the penultimate round Zhang Rui meets Kyoka Kato; Miyu Maeda opposes Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
The semi-finals and finals of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event will be played on Wednesday 20th September