by Ian Marshall, Editor
Success for Zhu Yuling means that since the tournament was first staged in 1983 in Wuxi, she becomes the first player to reach the women’s final in three consecutive years.
Other than Zhu Yuling, the players to have competed in two back-to-back finals, all when representing China, are Ni Xia Lian in 1984 in New Delhi and 1985 in Singapore, on both occasions the runner up. Similarly, in 1987 in Seoul and 1988 in Manila, Li Huifen had to settle for the silver medal. Later in 1991 Deng Yaping won in Manila before being the silver medallist in 1992 in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile in 2008 Guo Yue won in Sapporo, prior to retaining the title in Hangzhou, in the final at the expense of Liu Shiwen, the most notable name of all. Following her silver medal in 2009, Liu Shiwen won the following year in Guangzhou; a gap of two years, she succeeded in 2012 again in Guangzhou prior to retaining the title in 2013 in Hong Kong. A one year break; she was beaten by Feng Tianwei in the Jaipur final in 2015, before once again succeeding in 2016 in Dubai.
Success for Zhu Yuling in opposition to Feng Tianwei reversed the decision of 2015 in Jaipur when the Singaporean had prevailed in their group stage encounter; for Chen Meng, her success was a repeat of last year when they had also met in the penultimate round.
“I have not played against her almost one year. Last time we encountered was also in Asian Cup. I think she played better with regards to both the speed and match rhythm than last time.” Cheng Meng
Three in a row the task for Zhu Yuling, for Kasumi Ishikawa it is the goal, three third places in succession. In addition to 2007 in Hanoi and 2013 in Hong Kong, she was the bronze medallist in 2017 in Ahmedabad and last year in Yokohama.
A top three finish guarantees an invitation to the 2019 Women’s World Cup to be staged later in the year in Chengdu, a situation that will no doubt apply to Japan’s Miu Hirano, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching.
In the matches for places five to eight; Miu Hirano beat Jeon Jihee (6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5); Doo Hoi Kem received a walk-over when due to face the injured Cheng I-Ching.
On the concluding day of action, Sunday 7th April, play starts at 10.00 am with the contests for seventh and eighth positions. The third place match follows the positional contests and is scheduled for 1.00 pm on Sunday 7th April, it will be followed by the gold medal contest at 3.00 pm (all local times).