by Ian Marshall, Editor
In fact, never has a Chinese player reached a Challenge Series Women’s Singles final but of course there is a more than rational explanation; they have not competed, focusing their attentions on the ITTF World Tour.
At the quarter-final stage in Lagos for Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, the respective top two seeds, it was farewell.
Suthasini Sawettabut came the closer to preventing an all Chinese semi-final line up; she extended Wei Weisheng the full seven games distance (11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 2-11, 11-8). Thus she fell just one step short of matching her best ever finish at an open international tournament; last year in Zagreb she had reached the penultimate round.
Similarly for Szandra Pergel, defeat at the hands of Fan Siqi, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8), meant she ended matters one place below her finish in Lagos last year and two places below her efforts in 2016. In 2017 she had experienced defeat in the penultimate round when facing the champion elect, Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the previous year she had finished in runners up spot when beaten by Portugal’s Shao Jieni.
Success for Wei Wensheng and for Fan Siqi; in the corresponding quarter-final contests, it was success for China by definition.
Guo Yan, who earlier in the day had won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title, accounted for Qi Fenjie in a seven games encounter (11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8); in a rather less dramatic fashion, Sun Chen overcame Wang Shu (11-3, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9).
At the semi-final stage Wei Wensheng meets Guo Yan; Sun Chen opposes Fan Siqi; the matches are scheduled for the morning of Sunday 12th August.
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