by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The no.14 seed, at the final hurdle Yukari Sugasawa accounted for China’s Li Yuqi, the no.26 seed (15-13, 11-2, 11-7), having earlier in proceedings caused a major upset in round three by beating Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian, the top seed (10-12, 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6).
A place in the quarter-finals secured, she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat China’s Chen Yi, the no.7 seed by the very narrowest of margins (9-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 13-11), prior to reserving her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to colleague Yua Yamasaki (13-11, 11-4, 15-13).
No current world ranking, Yua Yamasaki had proved quite a revelation. In the third round she had ousted Lithuania’s Kornelija Riliskyte, the no.3 seed (11-5, 11-9, 11-9), before accounting for colleague Sakura Yokoi (11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3) likewise a player with no global status, to reserve her place in the semi-finals.
Alas for Liu Yuqi, the final was one Japanese player too many. In the latter stages she had beaten Kaho Akae, the no.34 seed (11-3, 12-10, 11-9), prior to ousting Hikari Okubo, the no.21 seed (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7) and Honami Nakamori, the no.12 seed (13-11, 11-9, 11-7) to reach the title decider.
Notably in the third round, Honami Nakamori and Hikari Okubo had both caused major upsets. Honami Nakamori had beaten Romania’s Elena Zaharia, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8), whilst Hikari Okubo had accounted for Germany’s Sophia Klee, the no.4 seed (11-1, 12-10, 11-5).
Meanwhile, in the Cadet Girls’ Doubles event, in partnership with Kaho Akae it was success at the final hurdle in opposition to Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian and Luibov Tentser (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6); the Japanese duo having in the penultimate round beaten colleagues Hikari Okubo and Yua Yamasaki (14-16, 11-7, 11-6, 11-4). In the opposite half of the draw, Elizabet Abraamian and Luibov Tentser had accounted for China’s Chen Yi and Liu Yuqi (11-7, 11-8, 14-16, 11-9) to reserve their place in the final.
Success in the Cadet Girls’ Singles and Cadet Girls’ Doubles events means it is the second time this year that Yukiya Sugasawa has achieved the feat. She won both titles with the same doubles partner in Belgium. Additionally, in France the duo also emerged as Cadet Girls’ Doubles champions.