by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In the crucial third round contests, Qian Tianyi, the top seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Chien Tung-Chien, the no.11 seed, to reserve her place (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8); Huang Fanzhen, the no.12 seed, accounted for India’s Archana Girish Kamath, the no.5 seed (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9).
However, they are the only seeded players, those who received a direct entry to the main draw to reserve last eight places; all others started the journey in the qualification group stage.
Notably China is very much to the fore in the quarter-final line-up; in addition to Qian Tianyi and Huang Fanzhen, Yang Yiyun also booked a place in the last eight. After accounting for Croatia’s Andrea Pavlovic, the no.6 seed (10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5), she ended the hopes of Singapore’s Goi Rui Xuan (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 11-5).
Three players from China with medal hopes alive; it is the same for Japan. Natsuki Chiba, Haruna Ojio and Reina Nakata all progressed contrary to expectations.
Natsuki Chiba reserved her last eight place courtesy of success against Korea’s Kang Eunji (11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4), the second round winner in opposition to Hong Kong’s Chua Wing Sze, the no.3 seed (9-11, 11-1, 12-10, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8).
A notable performance from Natsuki Chiba; it was the same from Reina Nakata. She ended the hopes of Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7) to reserve her last eight place.
Fine efforts but in the Japanese camp arguably the finest of all was that achieved by Haruna Ojio. After overcoming Hong Kong’s Lee Ka Yee, the no.7 seed (11-2, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10), she defeated Wang Tianyi (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-9), the player who alongside Qian Tianyi and Huang Fanzhen had remained unbeaten throughout the whole of the Junior Girls’ Team competition.
Success against expectations for Japan, it was the same for Korea Republic. Hong Sunsu recorded a third round win in opposition to India’s Selena Selvakumar to keep her medal hopes alive (9-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 11-9). Equally impressive, Choi Haeeun overcame China’s Chen Yi (11-9, 11-9, 13-11, 4-11, 11-5), the second round conqueror of Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut, the no.4 seed (9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6) to reserve her last eight place.
At the quarter-final stage in the top half of the draw Qian Tianyi meets Hong Sunsu, Yang Yiyun opposes Natsuki Chiba; in the lower half it is Choi Haeeun versus Haruna Ojio, Huang Fanzhen in opposition to Reina Nakata.
Play in the SET 2018 Thailand Junior and Cadet Open concludes on Sunday 13th May.