by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the sixth game, leading three games to two, Mima Ito established a 10-4 lead, she held six match points; at 11-10, she held one more before Wen Jia secured the next three points to complete a quite remarkable recovery and level matters.
Surrendering such a lead was a dagger to the Mima Ito heart, for Wen Jia a massive boost of confidence. In a contest, that continued to be played at an electric pace, fast close to the table counter attacking rallies, in the seventh game at the change of ends, Wen Jia led 5-3; it was a crucial advantage. Mima Ito won the next two points but never gained a lead, at 10-7 Wen Jia held three match points; what Mima Ito could not do in seven attempts, Wen Jia did at the first time of asking. She won the next point; a place in the semi-final was secured.
Success for Wen Jia guarantees a Women’s Singles final between China and Japan; in the same half of the draw, in a contest between two qualifiers, Wu Yang ended the hopes of Germany’s Sabine Winter (11-3, 11-5, 11-2, 11-13, 11-9). Earlier in the tournament, Sabine Winter had beaten Japan’s Hitomi Sato and Poland’s Li Qian but when facing a third defender, although she gradually acclimatised to her opponent’s skills, it was the end of adventures.
Wu Yang underlined the fact that she has a just claim to hold the accolade of being the best female defensive player on planet earth.
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw in an all-Japanese affair, Kasumi Ishikawa meets Saki Shibata.
Tested, Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed, beat qualifier, Adriana Diaz, a contest in which the Puerto Rican 17 year old held her head high; a six games verdict was the outcome (12-14, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5). A fine effort from Adriana Diaz, a tournament that could prove a watershed; she has demonstrated the level at which she can now compete.
Success as seeding anticipated, for Saki Shibata it was contrary to statistics. The no.7 seed, she withstood a spirited fightback by colleague Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed, eventually emerging successful in seven games (11-9, 12-10, 12-10, 7-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7). Thus she repeated the success of earlier this year. In July she had beaten Miu Hirano in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinhan Korea Open.
The semi-finals will be played later in the day.