by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Pride of place went to Choi Hyojoo, the no.13 seed, she used her left handed fast attacking skills to good effect to cause a major second round upset by beating Japan’s Saki Shibata, the top seed (11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7), prior to causing yet another surprise by overcoming the host nation’s Natalia Bajor, the no.7 seed, at the quarter-final stage (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5).
Impressive from Choi Hyojoo, it was the same from Shin Yubin, the no.12 seed. She accounted for Audrey Zarif of France, the no.12 seed (5-11, 16-14, 11-7, 11-7), prior to reserving her semi-final place courtesy of success in opposition to Japan’s Satsuki Odo (11-4, 11-6. 11-8). A qualifier, Satsuki Odo was a player very much in form. In the second round she had beaten Poland’s Katarzyna Wegrzyn (11-5, 11-6, 11-8), the first round winner in opposition to Japan’s Miyuu Kihara, the no.2 seed (4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5).
Notable performances but was the most worthy Korea, Kim Jiho?
She had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament. In the latter stages of proceedings she took full advantage of the situation that arose. She overcame fellow qualifiers Hungary’s Leonie Hartbrich (11-7, 11-1, 11-0) and Romania’s Alina Zaharia (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4) to reserve her place in the last four.
Three Koreans, the one interloper is Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.6 seed; in the later rounds she accounted for Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus, the no.10 seed (11-4, 11-4, 11-7), prior to reserving her last four place by overcoming Romania’s Andreea Dragoman, the no.14 seed (10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 15-17, 11-5).
At the semi-final stage Choi Hyojoo meets Kim Jiho, Shin Yubin faces Mariia Tailakova; the Under 21 Women’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Friday 16th March.