01 Jun 2018

Winner earlier in the year on the ITTF Challenge Series in Croatia and Spain as well securing a quite incredible five Under 21 titles in succession, Japan’s Saki Shibata was the player to cause the biggest upset in the second round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum, Kaisa China Open in Shenzhen.

The 20 year old who the previous day had caused an upset by beating Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon, the no.10 seed, on the second day of action, Friday 1st June, she caused an even bigger upset; she accounted for the host nation’s Zhu Yuling, the top seed, emerging successful in seven games (5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

A stunning performance by a player whose results this year must surely strengthen her claim for a place in the national team; notably she was not selected for the recent Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad.

“She is a young player who appeared recently; this was my first time I have played her. I failed to concentrate. I wasn’t familiar with her. I didn’t play well when receiving service.” Zhu Yuling

Success against the odds for Saki Shibata, the effort rather overshadowed the win recorded by compatriot, Hitomi Sato; the no.11 seed, she accounted for Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.3 seed (11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 15-13, 14-12). Notably it was the fourth time when Hitomi Sato and Feng Tianwei had met on the ITTF World Tour, it was the first time Hitomi Sato had won.

Wins contrary to expectations for Saki Shibata and Hitomi Sato; the outcome is that four Japanese players appear in the Women’s Singles quarter-final round. In all Japanese second round contests, Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed with the support of the Chinese fans in the tiered seating, beat Yui Hamamoto (12-10, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5); Mima Ito, the no.6 seed, accounted for Hina Hayata, the no.16 seed (10-12, 14-12, 11-4, 7-11, 13-11, 7-11, 12-10).

“To be honest I wasn’t in a good condition today but I was mentally fit. I never thought so many Chinese fans would cheer for me. I’m really happy and appreciate it.” Kasumi Ishikawa

Somewhat surprisingly for China, only two names appear. Ding Ning, the no.9 seed, beat colleague Gu Yuting (11-5, 11-9, 12-10, 8-11, 9-11, 12-10); Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed, ended the progress of Korea’s Yang Haeun (11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4). However, for Chen Xingtong, like Zhu Yuling, it was defeat; the no.8 seed, she was beaten by German qualifier, Han Ying (11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 11-8).

Most impressive from the defensive skills of Han Ying; it was the same from the attacking attributes of Korea’s Jeon Jihee. Likewise she upset the order of merit. Required to compete in the qualification stage, she overcame Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.15 seed (4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 13-11); the win meant that Jeon Jihee repeated the success enjoyed at the recent Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships.

At the quarter-final stage Saki Shibata meets Jeon Jihee; Ding Ning opposes Hitomi Sato. In the opposite half of the draw, Wang Manyu faces Han Ying, Mima Ito confronts Kasumi Ishikawa.

The matches in the top half of the draw will be played later this evening; the lower half on Saturday 2nd June.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster China Open Saki Shibata

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 World Tour China Open

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