by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Gu Yuting, now a more measured player than we saw some nine years ago, beat Japan’s Miyu Maeda (9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5); at the same time Wu Yang accounted for Romania’s Bernadette Szocs (11-4, 11-8, 11-7, 15-13), the winner earlier in the year at the Europe Top 16 tournament.
According to world ranking the win recorded by Wu Yang was the upset of the round; she is named at no.116, Bernadette Szocs at no.33. However, had Wu Yang been subject to greater international exposure in recent months, there is no doubt she would have a much higher status.
Whatever the world rankings may relate; Wu Yang is the best female defensive player in the world. Bernadette Szocs has undoubtedly improved against the backspin art but facing Wu Yang, who in the opening round had beaten Indonesia’s Gustin Dwijayanti (11-2, 11-1, 11-6, 11-4), was a different proposition.
“Today I played well and felt excited. It was my second match in the China Open and yesterday’s match was too easy for me to find a rhythm. Today, my opponent was competitive, so it was not easy. Overall, I still kept the upper hand. At the beginning, I just wanted to try new tactics for the following matches. I was a little out of practice and made some mistakes but I adjusted quickly. In the fourth game, when leading 10-8, I wanted to win the match sooner. I was a little anxious and sloppy. I struggled for a little while. She is quite good among European players and she plays with a clear mind and great speed. She is good at the drop shot.“ Wu Yang
Impressive from Gu Yuting and Wu Yang; now adjusted, in main draw both could well be players to note.