by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Never previously through to the latter stages of an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles event, Korea’s Lee Eunhye maintained her quite incredible run of form. Once again she displayed a penchant for left handers.
In the opening round she had beaten Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6); now in round two she ousted another lefty China’s Chen Ke (10-12, 12-10, 19-17, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7). Both Chen Ke and Lee Eunhye had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament; that may suggest parity but note the difference in world ranking. Currently Chen Ke stands at no.44, Lee Eunhye at no.136.
Success for Lee Eunhye against Chinese opposition; it was the same for colleague Suh Hyowon. The no.8 seed, she beat qualifier Wang Yidi (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-13, 11-8, 12-10).
“At the beginning of the match, she didn’t receive my serve well, so I was able to attack. However she adapted to my serve, so I changed my strategy by staying close to the table to defend. I had some difficulties receiving her serve, which allowed her to make a strong third ball attack. During the match, my main focus was to receive her serve well.” Suh Hyowon
Success for Korea but not for the host association; it was the end of the road. The sole survivor, Lee Ho Ching, the no.12 seed, was beaten by Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.5 seed (5-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7).
Otherwise, it was success upon success for China with Zhang Rui standing next in line to colleague He Zhuojia in the upset pecking order. Also required to compete in the qualification tournament, she overcame Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 12-10).
Imposing from Zhang Rui, it was the same from Wang Manyu, Chen Xingtong and Liu Shiwen.
Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, beat Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.16 seed (11-3, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7), Chen Xingtong, the no.6 seed, accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.10 seed (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9). Meanwhile, not to be upstaged, Liu Shiwen, the no.7 seed emerged successful in the all China battle; perhaps rather more convincingly than expected, she accounted for Sun Yingsha, the no.11 seed (11-7, 12-10, 13-11, 11-2).
“I had a quick match. I could play my own rhythm and performed well today. I will have a rest to prepare for the next match.” Liu Shiwen
At the quarter-final stage Lee Eunhye meets Mima Ito, Suh Hyowon confronts Wang Manyu; in the lower half of the draw, Zhang Rui faces Chen Xingtong, Liu Shiwen opposes He Zhuojia.
The quarter-final and semi-final matches will be played on Saturday 26th May.