by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Good form from Huang Yingqi, it was the same from Miyu Nagasaki, the no.11 seed who being born in June 2002 is somewhat five months younger than Huang Yingqi.
She accounted for colleagues Satsuki Odo, the no.16 seed (11-6, 11-4, 11-7) and Honoka Hashimoto, the no.27 seed (6-11, 11-5, 21-19, 6-11, 11-7) to secure her place in the last four. Similar to Huang Yingqi, the quarter-final success was a win over a player in form. In the second round Satsuki Odo had overcome Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.4 seed (13-11, 14-12, 12-10).}
Two surprise names through to the last four, the other two were as expected; Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seed, duly booked her semi-final place as did Saki Shibata, the no.2 seed.
Impressively, Saki Shibata beat Korea’s Shin Yubin, the no.9 seed, in three straight games (12-10, 15-13, 11-8), prior to overcoming colleague Hitomi Sato, the no.26 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-5).
Comprehensive wins for Saki Shibata; it was very different for Minnie Soo Wai Yam; she ended the hopes of Korea but came perilously close to defeat, in both contests victory by the minimal two point margin was secured.
At the quarter-final stage she ousted Kim Jho, the no.15 seed and the winner the previous week at the ITTF Challenge Polish Open (12-10, 11-6, 10-12, 14-12, 12-10), before in a similar manner ending the progress of Choi Hyjoo, the no.10 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10). Notably one round prior, Fan Siqi had upset the order of merit by overcoming Audrey Zarif of France, the no.7 seed (11-8, 11-4. 11-1)
In the penultimate round Minnie Soo Wai Yam meets Huang Yingqi; Saki Shibata opposes Miyu Nagasaki.
The Under 21 Women’s Singles event will be played to a conclusion on Thursday 22nd March.