by Kabir Nagpal
The stage is set for what will be a cracking set of knock-out round matches. Let us walk you through the key battles, stats and more.
Chen Meng v Bernadette Szocs
The world no.1 and seed no.1 is set to take on the Romanian superstar who truly edged out a clinical victory from the depths of defeat against Dina Meshref in the group stages. After losing to Suh Hyowon in her first match, Szocs managed a 4-3 (8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5) win over Meshref to reach the round of 16.
Chen and Szocs have met only once before – at the quarter-final stage of the 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open, a match which the Chinese won comfortably. Will Bernie exact a measure of revenge?
Lily Zhang v Feng Tianwei
The breakthrough star from last year’s edition of the Women’s World Cup seems to have picked up where she left off – raising heartbeats and hands alike. Lily Zhang finished top of group 2 in miraculous fashion – having lost the first game to Margaryta Pesotska. What followed were two stunning performances against Adriana Diaz (11-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5) and Zhang Mo (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 13-11), propelling her to the number one spot.
The Singaporean veteran Feng Tianwei awaits in the next round, and she will have a good memory of seeing Zhang last year in this very competition – a match where Tianwei secured the bronze medal.
Sofia Polcanova v Han Ying
The meeting of European giants is at hand, and it seems like the German Han Ying has the upper hand over Austrian Sofia Polcanova and not just because she has won all four previous meetings – 2015 European Games, 2015 European Championships, 2017 Czech Open, 2019 European Games – between the two!
Han was in superb form at the group stages, winning both matches against Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 11-4) and Netherlands’ Britt Eerland (11-3, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6) without dropping a single game. Will Polcanova have enough to end the steaming train that is headed her way from Germany?
Wu Yue v Cheng I-Ching
Where one German made it to the next round, another exited because of the brilliant win Wu Yue secured over Petrissa Solja in the opening match of group 3 (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 3-11, 11-9). Despite dropping three games on the bounce, Wu never looked in doubt in game seven and didn’t pass up the opportunity when match point came her way.
Cheng I-Ching will be the next challenge for the North American, and it will be a brand-new one. The two have never crossed racquets before, meaning both women are likely to play with an air of caution tomorrow.
Sun Yingsha v Adriana Diaz
The battle of youthful exuberance has landed early at the Women’s World Cup here in Weihai, as the Chinese sensation Sun Yingsha will play in-form Adriana Diaz.
The Puerto Rican started with a bang against Canadian Zhang Mo (11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-9, 12-10), and despite losing to Lily Zhang (11-13, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 11-5) found a way to usurp Margaryta Pesotska (11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8) in a thrilling finale of group 2. Which young athlete will come out on top?
Suh Hyowon v Kasumi Ishikawa
Two athletes who will certainly be familiar with each other’s playing style in the next round of the Women’s World Cup are Sun Hyowon and Kasumi Ishikawa. The Asian duo have played each other a gigantic fourteen times, with Ishikawa winning 11 matches – and all nine since succeeding in the women’s singles final at the 2014 Grand Finals.
However, Suh has good momentum coming into this game. The Korea Republic athlete finished at the top of group 4, seeing off both Bernadette Szocs (8-11, 11-3, 11-9, 13-11, 8-11, 11-7) and Dina Meshref (5-11, 11-3, 11-6, 13-11, 13-11) in style. Japan’s Ishikawa has been warned…
Doo Hoi Kem v Chen Szu-Yu
The Chinese Taipei athlete was also a group winner earlier today – beating both Wu Yue and Petrissa Solja – in admittedly stretched out games. Whether that fatigue will factor in against Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem tomorrow is to be seen.
These two have met ten time prior, and have won an amazing five matches each. The most recent meeting between the two was when Chen beat Doo at the 2019 ITTF World Tour China Open and in the women’s team event at the Asian Championships in Yogyakarta last year.
Jeon Jihee v Mima Ito
Last but not the least, Jeon Jihee will take on her conqueror from the 2019 T2 Diamond in Singapore – Japan’s Mima Ito. It is set to be a cagey match as both players are known to favour an attacking style but both will be cautious about not giving away too much room at the table.
For Jihee, the only blemish in her performance was the loss against Han Ying in the group stages – after the Korea Republic international beat Netherlands’ Britt Eerland in a thrilling match that ended 4-3 (7-11, 13-15, 13-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-9).