by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably, Minnie Soo Wai Yam was the second player from Hong Kong to suffer against the defensive skills of Li Jie, one day earlier in the opening round she had accounted for Ng Wing Nam (11-9, 11-4, 11-6, 11-1)
Defeat for Minnie Soo Wai Yam but distinct signs of progress against a style which in recent times has proved the nemesis of players from Hong Kong. It must be taken into consideration that Minnie Soo Wai Yam is only 19 years old, there was definite improvement; she came close to causing a major upset.
“She is a very good player, it was a hard match. I had to keep mixing defence with attack and put much spin on the ball.” Li Jie
Conversely against fellow close to the table counter attacking players, the young ladies from Hong Kong are very much more comfortable, a fact endorsed by Lee Ho Ching in her success against Zeng Jian.
“I played her two years ago in Japan and lost; today I was ready for the revenge. I was prepared for this match. I moved as fast as I could and tried to keep the ball on the table.” Lee Ho Ching
“She played with a lot of spin. She played very fast today and moved quickly; also she used very good tactics against me. Today she was the better player.” Zeng Jian
A clash of styles, it was very much the scenario in the contest between Chinese qualifier Sun Yingsha and Portugal’s Fu Yu, the no.15 seed. Against 39 year old Fu Yu, a player from a totally different generation, pen-hold grip, using one side of the racket only, Sun Yingsha, shake-hands grip, top spin from both backhand and forehand, as is the modern method, experienced a host of problems. She won but only just, the 17 year old reigning World Junior champion, eventually prevailed in seven games (12-10, 11-8, 9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 2-11, 11-4).
Success for Sun Yingsha, in the one remaining second round Women’s Singles contest, there was also success for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.5 seed. She beat Russian defender Polina Mikhailova, a player who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament, in six games (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-4).
“I had to play very patiently and choose the right ball to kill. She can play strongly and attack well. I directed by play to the middle, the crossover point.” Chen Szu-Yu
“In this match I missed my chances; that made a massive difference. Game one and three could have gone my way. All in all I am really happy about my overall performance in this competition.” Polina Mikhailova
An impressive performance against one defensive player, now a second awaits in the quarter-finals; she meets Li Jie. In the counterpart contest in the lower half of the draw, Lee Ho Ching opposes Sun Yingsha.
Play at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event commences at 10.00am (local time) on Saturday 20th January.