26 Jul 2018

Mouth-watering, a repeat of the final of the Liebherr 2017 World Championships was the option at the start of the day on Thursday 26th July; at the end of the day it was a distinct possibility.

Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa, who secured the Mixed Doubles title by beating Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching, just over a year ago, both emerged successful at the quarter-final stage of play at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open in Geelong on Thursday 26th July.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In opposite halves of the draw, Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching, the no.3 seeds, accounted for colleagues, Chuang Chih-Yuan and Chen Szu, the no.5 seeds; a contest that was arguably closer than the three-nil outcome may suggest. Every game was decided by the minimal two point margin (12-10, 13-11, 11-9).

Furthermore, it was to some extent déjà vu; the previous week at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinhan Korea Open, in the opening round of the Mixed Doubles event, the pairs had met. On that occasion the outcome had also been a three-nil win for Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching. However, it was arguably more comfortable than in Geelong, only the third game was decided by the minimal margin (11-6, 11-5, 14-12).

Success for Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching; likewise it was success for Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seeds. They overcame Singapore’s Gao Ning and Yu Mengyu, the no.6 seeds, a pair that harbours a liking for Australia; earlier this year in April at the 2018 Commonwealth Games staged in Gold Coast, they emerged Mixed Doubles gold medallists. In Geelong they experienced a four games quarter-final defeat (11-5, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5).

In the penultimate round, for both pairs, opponents from the Korea Republic await. Chen Chien-An and Cheng I-Ching meet Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, the top seeds; Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa confront Lim Jonghoon and Yang Haeun, the no.4 seeds.

At the quarter-final stage Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee beat Slovakian qualifiers Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova but came perilously close to defeat; they emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding fifth game (12-10, 10-12, 11-7, 10-12, 11-9).

A severe test for Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee; for Lim Jonghoon and Yang Haeun life was less exacting. They accounted for Australia’s Kane Townsend and Parleen Kaur, the no.8 seeds, in three straight games (11-4, 11-3, 11-6).

The semi-finals will be played on Friday 27th July.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Australia Open Kasumi Ishikawa Cheng I-Ching Maharu Yoshimura Chen Chien-An

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF Australian Open

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