by Ian Marshall, Editor
Focused, Ding Ning was not to be denied, on occasions long rallies that delighted the crowd ensued but the opening two games both finished comfortably in the hands of the reigning Olympic and World champion.
Brave defensive play combined with a forehand top spin option, Suh Hyowon secured the third game; however, there was to be no memorable recovery, in the next two games it was back to business.
A most efficient performance from Ding Ning despite losing the third game; for Kasumi Ishikawa, she needed time to seize control. Playing at top speed, her favoured tempo, Miu Hirano made the better start against Kasumi Ishikawa, she secured the first game, her initial attacking stokes directed time and time again towards the backhand of her adversary.
It was for Kasumi Ishikawa, to some extent remaining calm and weathering the storm; she duly succeeded, winning the second and third games. A rhythm to her play now established, able to respond to the rapid fire attacking strokes of her 17 year old adversary, in the fourth game, Kasumi Ishikawa established a 7-2 lead, it was an advantage she never relinquished.
The balance of the engagement was now very much in her favour; in the fifth game she won the first three points, Miu Hirano called “Time Out”. However, Kasumi Ishikawa was now confident, in control, quick to seize any chance offered; she won the next four points to lead 7-0 before at 10-3 holding seven match points, she converted at the first attempt.
Ding Ning and Kasumi Ishikawa now meet in the penultimate round, the contest is scheduled for 11.00 pm (local time) on Sunday 30th September.
Uncle Pop 2018 ITTF Women’s World Cup: Statistics provided by Beijing Sport University