28 Jul 2021

Defying the odds, on the fifth day of play, Wednesday 28th July, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Singapore’s Yu Mengyu continued to exceed expectations, she caused the biggest upset of the day and in so doing emerged the surprise name to book a women’s singles semi-final place.

by Ian Marshall

The no.26 seed, at the quarter-final stage she beat Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.5 seed (8-11, 11-5, 14-12, 11-6, 11-2), to reserve her last four place.

An upset but history suggests otherwise; since their first encounter at the 2007 ITTF World Tour Brazil Open in Belo Horizonte, they have now met 16 times in international events. It is eight wins apiece.

Progress per status

Otherwise, the quarter-final encounters in the women’s singles event went as status predicted; China’s Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, in particular, imposed their authority on proceedings.

Chen Meng, the top seed, beat Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.8 seed (6-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8) and thus maintained tradition. In all four international meetings, Chen Meng has won in six games!

Later in the day, Sun Yingsha proved too consistent for the defensive skills of Germany’s Han Ying, the no.12 seed (11-8, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6).

Success for the top two names, there was success for the third and more than hope for the host nation. Mima Ito, the no.3 seed, accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.7 seed (11-5, 11-1, 12-10, 11-6).

Women’s singles: semi-finals

  • 11.00 Chen Meng (CHN) v Yu Mengyu (SGP)
  • 12.00 Mima Ito (JPN) v Sun Yingsha (CHN)
  • 20.00 Bronze Medal Match
  • 21.00 Gold Medal Match
Similar scenario

Progress in style for Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha; in the men’s singles it was the same for compatriots Fan Zhendong and Ma Long.

Fan Zhendong, the top seed, accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik, the no.10 seed (12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5); Ma Long, the no.2 seed, overcame Egypt’s Omar Assar, the no.28 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-6). Ma Long has now won all three encounters at international level against Omar Assar, the previous engagements being at the Liebherr Men’s World Cup in 2015 in Halmstad and 2017 in Liège.

Imposing performances, it was the same from Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.5 seed, he abruptly ended the ambitions of Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, the no.18 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-4, 11-6). Thus, he reversed the decision of their one previous international meeting. At the 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town, Darko Jorgic had prevailed.

Not to be outdone, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.7 seed, ended the hopes of Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.4 seed (7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2); a surprise according to status but not when considering history. Dimitrij Ovtcharov had won both prior international exchanges; on the ITTF World Tour he prevailed in 2014 in Qatar and in 2019 in the Czech Republic.

Men’s singles: semi-final

  • 15.00 Fan Zhendong (CHN) v Lin Yun-Ju (TPE)
  • 16.00 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) v Ma Long (CHN)
Medal matches

The semi-finals of the women’s singles will be played on Thursday 29th July followed by the bronze medal and gold medal matches; also, the men’s singles semi-finals will be played.

However, the bronze and gold medal men’s singles contests will be staged on Friday 30th July.

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