by Ian Marshall, Editor
Understandably follow the reverse in Halmstad, Liu Shiwen was tense, somewhat apprehensive in her play; a fact underlined as the opening game came to a conclusion. Once in the rallies she was comfortable but she did make mistakes when trying to execute first attacking stroke from the backhand.
She trailed 8-10, levelled at 8-all; then attempting to serve long to the backhand of Mima Ito served too long. An opportunity for Mima Ito; the opportunity was seized.
Immediately, Liu Shiwen responded to secure the second and third games as gradually the confidence factor grew and her play gained in consistency. Two games to one ahead, in the fourth game, Liu Shiwen secured the first three points, Mima Ito, perhaps feeling that Liu Shiwen was taking command of the contest, called “Time Out” the fears were to some extent realized, the game and a three-one lead was secured.
Did we not expect Liu Shiwen to accelerate to victory? Mima Ito had other idea; to her great credit she responded, in the fifth game she led 10-9, saved match point when trailing 10-11 before securing the game. Again as in the first, when matters were close Liu Shiwen was hesitant
Now Mima Ito was motivated, in the sixth game she went ahead 5-1, she never looked back, a seventh game beckoned. A good start vital, neither could establish their authority, at the change of ends Liu Shiwen led 5-4; both players precise with their serving techniques, Mima Ito levelled and then went ahead 7-6. Liu Shiwen called “Time Out”; the break worked in favour of Mima Ito, she won the next three points, four match points, two were saved not a third.
“I never thought about the score, I just tried to take one point at a time, one step after another and trust myself.” Mima Ito
Success on the west coast was repeated on the east, what few ever achieve, Mima Ito achieved, she beat a leading Chinese player in consecutive confrontations
“Ito is a good player. I lost focus when I was leading three-one, especially I lost concentration in the fifth and sixth games. Ito changed her services and that gave her more chances.” Liu Shiwen
Mima Ito now meets China’s Ding Ning in the semi-finals, the match will be stage later in the evening session of play.