26 Nov 2017

The outcome as status predicted; at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria, Japan’s Hina Hayata and Korea’s Jeon Jihee, the respective top two seeds, emerged successful.

However, they emerged successful in somewhat different manners; Jeon Jihee beat Saki Shibata, the no.5 seed and like Hina Hayata in four straight games (14-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7) but for Hina Hayata in the contest that signalled the start of the concluding day’s play, life was exacting. She needed the full seven games to end the hopes of Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.9 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Hina Hayata proved slightly the faster player, the quicker to move in her contest against Bernadette Szocs, both players arguably stronger from the backhand than the forehand.

The opening two games shared, Hina Hayata secured the third before establishing a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Bernadette Szocs called “Time Out”, she levelled matters at 6-all but then trailed 7-9 and 9-10. Focused she saved game points on two occasions before emerging successful 13-11.

Undoubtedly the “Time Out” call made by Bernadette Szocs had proved vital; it was the same from Hina Hayata in the fifth game.

She led by just one point at 10-9; she called for the break and promptly won the next point. Undaunted Bernadette Szocs recovered to win the sixth game, a decider beckoned.

A good start essential, it was Hina Hayata who made the good start, at the change of ends she led 5-1, she never relinquished the advantage; at 10-4 she held six match points, at the second attempt she converted.

Meanwhile for Jeon Jihee it was a rather different scenario a close first game; then confidence grew as she asserted her authority on proceedings, the trademark fast forehand, a winning weapon.

The final of the Women’s Singles event will be played later in the day.


Challenge Series 2017 Spanish Open Hina Hayata Saki Shibata Bernadette Szocs Jeon Jihee

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Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open