by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Winner of the Girls’ Singles title at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Rabat, Morocco but in Linz required to compete in the qualification stage of proceedings, Gu Yuting beat Japan’s Hinas Hayata, the no.10 seed, in six games (11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7).
Strong in particular from the backhand, Hina Hayata caused Gu Yuting cause for concern but at the end of the day, the 22 year old, listed at no.41 on the Women’s World Rankings prevailed. Presently Hina Hayata is named at no.17 in the global order, the same number as her age.
It was yet another instance of China prevailing against Japan. The current popular view is that Japan presents the major challenge to Chinese hegemony but time and again when China has met Japan in Linz, it is China that has prevailed; the most notable exception being the win recorded by Marina Matsuzawa over Liu Gaoyang (11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6) in the Women’s Singles preliminary round.
Success for Gu Yuting; soon after it was success for colleague, Gu Ruochen. Neither player seeded, she accounted for Zhang Rui in six games to reserve her place in the last four (11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6).
At the semi-final stage, Gu Ruochen meets Gu Yuting; the match will be played later in the day.