Four remain, who will lift the cup?
Another home win as Liu comes good
Liu Shiwen joins fellow compatriot Zhu Yuling in the semi-finals after coming good against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching 4-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10).
Game four could have gone either way with Cheng actually holding a game point opportunity of her own but she couldn’t capitalise on it as Liu won three consecutive points to bring the tie to a close. The result means a possibility of an all-China final is still on the cards with Liu and Zhu placed in opposite sides in the draw.
“My opponent played very aggressively today, especially in the third and fourth game. I just focused on myself and tried to control the ball placement better.” Liu Shiwen
Zhu powers to penultimate round
The home crowd celebrates as 2017 champion Zhu Yuling comfortably dispatches of Germany’s Petrissa Solja to reach the last four in Chengdu.
Dominant from start to finish, Zhu’s power was simply mesmerising at times and Solja struggled to cope across the four games (11-4, 11-1, 11-6, 11-7). Defeat for Solja but a quarter-final finish is a commendable feat for the German player. As for Zhu, she’s just one win away from reaching the final for the third year in a row.
“I really enjoyed today’s match. I have not played against her for a long time… She is an Olympic team silver medallist. I watched her match footage before this match and I just focused on myself. Tomorrow I will face Feng Tianwei. We are very familiar with each other. She is in good form recently and has got some good results against Chinese players. I expect tomorrow’s match will not easy. I will just make full preparation and learn from her.” Zhu Yuling
Lily reacts on unbelievable feat
The first player from the United States to reach the last four of the Women’s World Cup, here’s what Lily Zhang had to say following her phenomenal display against Sofia Polcanova:
“I was a bit distracted when I was leading 2-1 then the score became 2-3. This was the toughest moment during the whole match. But I did not give up and maintained my confidence. I could not believe I won, even the last ball hit the floor! I really did not expect that I could reach this stage. I am just so happy now.” Lily Zhang
She’s done it again!!!
Just when you thought she couldn’t create anymore headlines, Lily Zhang has caused yet another stir at the Women’s World Cup in Chengdu after backing up her sensational victory over Miu Hirano with a quarter-final win at the expense of the top ranked European player Sofia Polcanova.
The American’s quality on the ball was simply breathtaking at time but her Austrian opponent kept her honest throughout the course of the match with both players locked in an unpredictable affair. In the deciding game Polcanova looked well on her way to victory, claiming a 1-5 lead at the change of ends but Zhang refused to give up the fight winning 10 of the following 13 points (11-8) to make the semi-final draw (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).
“I did not give up”
Here’s the reaction from that intense duel between Feng Tianwei and Kasumi Ishikawa:
“A 33-year-old old player caused an upset haha! I didn’t have the upper hand in the previous encounters against her. Today I made full preparations. This match was really really close. We both gave out our best performance. I led in the fifth game, then I became a bit anxious. But I did not give up when I was 2-3 down. I made some improvements physically and mentally in recent times. I regard every match as my last match. I want to show the fans a better me every time. I cherish every opportunity.” Feng Tianwei
“I had the chance to finish the match in the sixth game, but I did not make it… Today I played too simple in my placement and the first three shots. My opponent knew where my ball was going to go. I need to change my mindset for the future matches. I cherish every opportunity to play.” Kasumi Ishikawa
Feng edges through, Japanese hopes fade
Wow! What a match we’ve just witnessed in the 4.30pm session of play with Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, seeded seventh, eliminating third seed Kasumi Ishikawa at the quarter-final hurdle.
A crazy battle with twists and turns at every corner Ishikawa was the first to respond turning around a 2-1 deficit to lead 2-3, shifting the pressure on her Singapore counterpart. However, a narrow win in game six saw Feng level the tie at 3-3 and her combination of attacking power and outright pace handed proved too much to handle for Ishikawa in the decider (12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7). Ishikawa’s defeat also signals the end of Japan’s title aspirations in Chengdu.
Jeon exits as Cheng shines
Round of 16 – Match 7
Concluding the round of 16 is quite a result for the Chinese Taipei athlete Cheng I-Ching who has successfully reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup after seeing off the first ever challenge of Jeon Jihee at the competition (14-12, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8).
The #5 seed needed no more than the five games to reach the last 8 as the Korea Republican Jihee could not muster the energy from her group stage performances. Eventually at the end of 48 minutes, Cheng was the better player on the day and will want to use that momentum when she faces Liu Shiwen.
Liu calmly reaches quarters
Round of 16 – Match 8
China’s Liu Shiwen calmly handled her match in the face of upsets going around the tournament, as the world champion beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu 4-1 (11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6).
“I led 8-3 in the fourth game and she won the next three points then I called a time-out. The game was really crucial, because if I could take the 3-1 lead, it would be very helpful. I did not play against her several times. She is very strong player with solid basic skill. Her topspin gave me a lot of pressure today. Generally speaking, I think I performed normally today. I know she is a tough opponent but it helps me for the upcoming matches.” Liu Shiwen
In under 43 minutes, Liu displayed her mental strength to make sure there were to be no comebacks after Chen took the third game 11-7. Using her forceful forehands, Liu reaches the quarter-finals to be played later today.
The upsets are building.. or are they?
Round of 16 – Matches 7 & 8
Meanwhile it seems like the upset fever is catching Chengdu cold as the Chinese Taipei star Cheng I-Ching is up 2-0 against the Korea Republican Jeon Jihee!
For the World Champion Liu Shiwen things are not exactly rosy with her own Chinese Taipei opponent Chen Szu-Yu giving her trouble, as the two athletes are locked in a cagey battle that Liu leads 2-1. Are there more ‘shocks’ to come?
Speaking after the shock of the tournament
USA’s Lily Zhang is the name on everyone’s lips right now after her magnificent win over Japan’s Miu Hirano in the round of 16. Here’s the 23-year-old’s reaction to that win:
“I am so happy now. I watched her match footage yesterday night. She is much higher than me in world ranking, so I have no pressure today. I just focus on myself today. I led 2-0 which gave me a lot of confidence. Then she won the next three games but I believe I still have chance and I can come back. She is very fast. I am speedy as well. So I feel very comfortable to play against her.” Lily Zhang
More reaction about that stunning upset by Lily Zhang
Wu halted by Sofia
Round of 16 – Match 6
Wu Yue could not match her compatriot Lily Zhang’s achievements as she was knocked out by Sofia Polcanova in a strong display of backhand variety from the Austrian.
In a match lasting 42 minutes, the American Wu was mostly stalled in her attacking play by Polcanova’s resilience and timing of her returns. Taking a three game lead, the #8 seeded Polcanova had complete control over this match and she made it count by reaching the quarter-finals and matching her result in 2018 (13-11, 11-4, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9).
Zhang causes a ‘Hurricane’ upset!
Round of 16 – Match 5
USA’s Lily Zhang has truly lit up the competition in China, as she has now eliminated the #4 seed Miu Hirano. After impressive showings in the group stages, it seems like the American has no plans of slowing down!
Taking a two game lead, Lily had set up the media teams covering the event to look up every synonym for ‘upset’. Even her opponent Hirano was in a state of shock per se, which seemed to wake her up for the next three games. At 3-3 however, it was Lily who entered the decider with momentum. In the end, after all the time-outs used up, Lily managed to gain 5 match points over Hirano and made the first one count to win 4-3 (12-10, 11-8, 8-11,8-11, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5).
Feng continues consistency, Szocs exits
Round of 16 – Match 4
Singapore’s Feng Tianwei set a marker down here in Chengdu as she saw off Bernadette Szocs in straight games to move on to yet another quarter-final at the Women’s World Cup (11-8, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8).
Making her ninth (!) appearance in this competition, the veteran Feng looks to be just as fuelled as she was in her debut performance. Her Romanian opponent had no response as the match was concluded in under 35 minutes.
Ishikawa wins as Meshref falters
Round of 16 – Match 3
It was just not to happen for Egypt’s Dina Meshref as 3rd seed Kasumi Ishikawa spectacularly defeated her in 27 minutes and four games (11-4, 12-10, 11-7, 11-6).
“I played against two years ago in Team World Cup. I came here fully prepared, but I did not expect that I could take the match in four straight games. The match was not easy. I managed to come back from 0:6 in the sixth game. I am satisfied with my performance in this match.” Kasumi Ishikawa
The Japanese looks to be in hot form in her seventh appearance at the World Cup. This was clearly evident as Ishikawa’s shakehand drives across the table kept Meshref from replying in her usual power-play fashion.
Solja makes a stunning comeback to beat Doo
Round of 16 – Match 2
Germany’s Petrissa Solja pulled off a comeback in a powerful display of her grit as she beat Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem to make the quarter-finals.
“I am so happy. My first goal was to pass the group and now I even win the first round. I will play against Zhu Yuling in the next round. I am looking forward to it as I am sure there will be many spectators and the venue will be loud. I always need some time to find my rhythm against Asian players. The second match was really closed. I had my chance then I was better into the condition. I always need to put her under pressure then I just play safe on both sides. I could feel that she did not know where to play.” Petrissa Solja
Being down by two games, the gold medallist at the 2019 Europe Top 16 Cup rallied herself back into the tie by winning four straight games and shocking not only the fans, but her opponent too (6-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7).
Zhu makes for an authoritative start
Round of 16 – Match 1
Top seed Zhu Yuling stomped her authority at the Women’s World Cup as she eliminated Mo Zhang in straight games this morning (11-2, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4).
“I really enjoy playing at home soil. The atmosphere is just wonderful. I am fully prepared now. Today my opponent is not that strong and this match helps me to get warmed up. Right after this match, President Liu Guoliang came to talk to me and helped me to prepare the tactics for next match.” Zhu Yuling
The Chinese star was imperious to say the least, wrapping up the match in 25 minutes where the Canadian veteran was not allowed an inch of space. Some way to make sure people know why you’re seeded #1!