by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In the opening round they caused the home supporters pain by beat Han Ying and Shan Xiaona, the no.8 seeds (11-3, 11-8, 11-3); at the quarter-final stage they delighted the home crowd by overcoming China’s Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, the no.2 seeds, in a dramatic full distance five games duel decided by the very narrowest of margins (13-15, 12-10, 8-11, 13-11, 11-8).
Success against the second seeds but more significantly, it was success against one of the most successful Women’s Doubles partnerships of modern times.
Earlier this year the duo regained their Asian Championships title. They won in 2013 in Busan, Korea when at the final hurdle against the odds they had beaten colleagues Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen. Four years later in Wuxi, they also accounted for compatriots, they beat Chen Ke and Wang Manyu in the title decider.
Furthermore, in early June at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf they came within a whisker of repeating their Busan success against Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen; they were beaten in the Women’s Doubles final by the very narrowest of margins (9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-9).
Defeat for the runners up in Düsseldorf; in Magdeburg, there was also defeat for the bronze medallists, although not against the odds. Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu lost to Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the top seeds (9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-13, 11-5) on what was certainly a good morning for Hong Kong.
Two notable performances, both rather overshadowing the efforts of Japan’s Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano, both 17 years old; the no.5 seeds, they overcame Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.3 seeds and seven times ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles winners. Impressively, the Japanese teenagers won in four games (11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6).
Success somewhat contrary to expectations for Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano; for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching, it was as anticipated. The no.6 seeds, they beat the combination of Austria’s Liu Jia and Canada’s Zhang Mo (11-9, 11-9, 11-6), a partnership that had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.
In the penultimate round Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching meet Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito confront Gu Yuting and Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
The matches are scheduled for 10.30am (local time) on Saturday 11th November.