by Ian Marshall, Editor
Previously on this year’s Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, Zeng Jian had partnered colleagues Li Jie, Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan but without any great levels of success; Sun Jiayi, on her one prior excursion, had joined forces with Germany’s Wan Yuan, likewise the pair had not hit the headlines.
In Olomouc, the chemistry worked. At the quarter-final stage, Sun Jiayi and Zeng Jian beat fellow qualifiers, the combination of Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Slovenia’s Alex Galic (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 13-15, 11-7), prior to causing a major semi-final upset. They ousted Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the top seeds, the winners at last year’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour German Open.
Furthermore, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito were in good form in Olomouc, earlier in the day at the quarter-final stage they had overcome the formidable Chinese partnership of Chen Ke and Wang Yidi, the no.7 seeds (11-3, 13-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw it was a case of revenge is sweet. Five days earlier in Bulgaria, Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui had lost to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito in the Women’s Doubles final (10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6); true to best Chinese traditions the homework was completed and the tables turned.
After accounting for the defenders, Li Jie of the Netherlands and Poland’s Li Qian, likewise qualifiers (10-12, 11-3, 11-4, 11-6), Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui ended the hopes of Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito, the no.2 seeds (11-8, 6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8), to reserve their place in the final. One round earlier, Kasumi Ishikawa and Mima Ito had proved too consistent for Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs, the no.8 seeds (12-10, 11-5, 11-3).
The final will be played on the early afternoon of Sunday 26th August.