by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Gu Yuting and Li Xiaodan were the names in question; a tirade of top spin attacking strokes from Gu Yuting spelt doom for the defensive skills of Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto, the no.10 seed (11-4, 13-11, 11-2, 11-4); the consistency of Li Xiaodan prevailed against the host nation’s Li Fen, the no.16 seed (14-12, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10).
“I was a little surprised, Li Fen played much better than I expected; I felt that the longer the rally went the more I was comfortable. The more I play on the ITTF World Tour the more confidence I am gaining. Today, I really enjoyed playing Li Fen.” Li Xiaodan
More success for China against the odds but there was a result in the opposite direction. Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.7 seed recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Li Jiayi, a contest in which Cheng I-Ching secured the most vital of vital points. She trailed 7-8 in the seventh game before winning the next four to secure victory5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-14, 11-5, 11-2, 11-8).
“She is good, very good; she is faster and more powerful than me; I had to change, play with more top spin on my first attack. In the seventh game perhaps it helped that I had a little more international experience; I tried to focus on making sure I played a quality first attack but there’s a bigger reason why I won, from 7-8 down I won two very lucky points, two edges in my favour. Yes, now more Chinese, Gu Yuting, victory, victory!” Cheng I-Ching
Ready to challenge the mighty Chinese and so is Kasumi Ishikawa, she won the one match in the top half of the draw that did not involve a player representing the People’s Republic of China. However, her adversary learned her skills in China, in Baoding, before moving to Poland; Kasumi Ishikawa, the no. 4 seed, overcame the backspin artistry of Li Qian (9-11, 11-9,16-14, 11-5, 11-6)
“The first match is always difficult but perhaps extra difficult playing a defender, there are no easy points. You must work hard. Now it’s a real challenge; Li Xiaodan next; I’m looking forward to tomorrow.” Kasumi Ishikawa
In the top half of the draw in the second round of the Women’s Singles event, the matches to be played on Friday 17th November, Ding Ning meets Chen Ke, Zhang Qiang opposes Sun Mingyang; meanwhile, Chen I-Ching confronts Gu Yuting, Li Xiaodan faces Kasumi Ishikawa.