by Simon Daish
Han Ying keeps European hopes alive
German defender Han Ying is perhaps the main headline-maker of the day after the no.14 seed, who was forced to negotiate the group phase of the event, sealed her ticket to the last four.
Contesting an all-European bout against Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, Han put together a strong display in the second half of her meeting with the no.7 seed to edge through to the quarter-finals (11-7, 9-11, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6). Han wasn’t done yet, toppling no.4 seed Cheng I-Ching (12-10, 3-11, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6) to move to within a win from a medal!
Lily Zhang gets her revenge but journey ends
Missing out on a podium finish at the 2019 ITTF Women’s World Cup to Feng Tianwei, United States’ Lily Zhang experienced the sweet taste of revenge on day two of the 2020 event with an outstanding display against the Singapore icon (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 13-11)
“I didn’t expect the results today! I played her in the third-place match last year, she is an incredible player, someone I look up to. I watched a lot of her matches growing up and to have the chance to play her and win against her was really incredible for me.” Lily Zhang
Zhang’s fine campaign drew to a close later in the day. Putting up a brave fight, the USA star gave a good account of herself but ultimately fell short against World no.1 Chen Meng (11-8, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9).
Seven-game thriller and a good day’s work for Chen Szu-Yu
Another standout performance came in the lower section of the draw as Chen Szu-Yu recorded her second 4-3 victory of the event.
Holding off a late charge by USA’s Wu Yue on day one, it was Chen who was forced to comeback from behind in her Round of 16 meeting with Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem. Trailing by a 1-3 deficit, Chen refused to throw in the towel and was rewarded with an outstanding result (8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6). Through to the quarter-finals but that was as far as Chen would progress, falling to Japan’s Mima Ito 4-1 (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5). An improvement on last year’s efforts, Chen will be pleased with her showing in Weihai.
Chinese elite names send message of intent
Two of the semi-final spots awarded to Han Ying and Mima Ito, the remaining places up for grabs have both been swept up by players representing the host nation following a strong day at the office for China’s Sun Yingsha and Chen Meng.
Starting the day with a comprehensive victory over Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz (11-5, 11-5, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7), who was making her first appearance in the Round of 16, Sun produced an even greater display in the evening as she powered past 2015 runner up Kasumi Ishikawa (11-6, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7). At the very summit of the playing field, Chen maintains a perfect record. In addition to overcoming Lily Zhang, Chen also pulled a 4-0 victory out of the bag earlier in the day, eliminating Romania’s Bernadette Szocs from the picture (11-6, 11-1, 11-3, 11-7).
“Even though I won 4-0, every single game was not easy for me. During the match there were a lot of ups and downs and I thought it was important that I was able to adjust during the match. Lily’s improvement has been huge. She made it all the way to the semi-finals last year. I had to prepare for her as well as all other opponents as they are all very good players.” Chen Meng
Down to the final four
Just four players remain in the title hunt. The first semi-final to be decided sees the battle of the young guns as Mima Ito and Sun Yingsha face one another – Chen Meng and Han Ying meet in the upper half of the draw soon after.
For more information check out the schedule for Sunday’s proceedings: