Tournaments

15 Dec 2017

Zhu Yuling narrowly avoided a shock opening round exit at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Astana, Kazakhstan with the World no.1 player requiring the full match distance in her Round of 16 encounter against Japanese opponent Hina Hayata on Friday 15th December.

by Simon Daish

Making somewhat of a slow start to the match China’s Zhu Yuling found herself trailing Hina Hayata by a two games deficit but responded well with three consecutive game wins to gain the lead for the first time in the tie.

Hina Hayata came out on top by the narrowest of margins in game six to force a decider, however, despite taking some momentum into the seventh end it was Zhu Yuling who qualified for the next round of the Women’s Singles draw by the skin of her teeth (9-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7).

Third seed Kasumi Ishikawa began her Women’s Singles campaign against German defender Han Ying and as anticipated it was the Japanese star who earned a spot in the quarter-finals.

Despite a nice comeback display from Han Ying to level the score at two games apiece Kasumi Ishikawa never really looked to troubled and eventually sealed the win in six games (11-3, 11-9, 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-4).

“It’s always a tough match against Han Ying, so I was mentally prepared for any difficulties in the match. Today I played well, especially in the opening two and last two games… When I was leading 2-0, I was too eager to win and she made several changes as well. I wasn’t adapting fast enough and lost the next two games.” Kasumi Ishikawa.

Success for Kasumi Ishikawa and there was a similar outcome for fellow compatriot Mima Ito, who emerged victorious in her tie against Sakura Mori.

Six games were required to see the 17-year-old over the line (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8), setting up a last eight meeting with Chen Xingtong.

Wang Manyu is off to a bright start in Astana after registering a round one win over Hitomi Sato right at the base of the draw.

Japan’s Hitomi Sato grew stronger as the match progressed but in the end it was China’s Wang Manyu who extended her stay in the competition with a six games victory (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10) and will face Zhu Yuling for a place in the last four.

2017 Seamaster ITTF World Tour Grand Finals Zhu Yuling Kasumi Ishikawa Mima Ito Wang Manyu
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Day 4 - Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals