by Ian Marshall
The fast closing to the table drive style play, executed by Minami Ando gave the champions elect the perfect start against Korea Republic. She beat Shin Yubin in four games (9-11, 11-3, 11-6, 12-10).
A four games success for Minami Ando, in the immediately ensuing contest, it was the very same for colleague Hina Hayata when facing Jeon Jihee.
Five days early in the WTT Star Contender Doha tournament, when they met at the semi-final stage of the women’s singles event, Hina Hayata had recovered from a three games to nil deficit to claim victory (8-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5); in the team final life was less dramatic, a more comfortable and less dramatic contest was the outcome (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6).
Japan in the driving seat, Miyu Nagasaki accounted for Lee Zion in straight games to conclude matters (11-9, 11-5, 11-9).
It is only the second time since 1972,when the tournament came under the authority of the Asian Table Tennis Union, that Japan has emerged the women’s team champions; the only other occasion being 1974 in Yokohama.
Earlier at the semi-final stage both Japan and Korea Republic had recorded comprehensive wins, impressive 3-0 margins of victory being the outcome.
Facing Singapore, Shin Yubin set the tone, she beat Wong Xin Ru in straight games (11-2, 11-7, 11-8); in a similar vein Jeon Jihee overcame Zhou Jingyi (11-5, 11-3, 12-10), prior to Suh Hyowon accounting for Goi Rui Xuan (11-6, 11-3, 11-4) to end matters.
Likewise, opposing Hong Kong, Japan displayed no charity.
Minami Ando eventually overcame Zhu Chengzhu (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 16-18, 11-8), before Hina Hayata beat Doo Hoi Kem (11-5, 11-4, 11-9) and Hitomi Sato proved too secure in defence when facing Ng Wing Nam (11-6, 11-9, 11-6).
Convincing, it was the same in the men’s team quarter-finals that needed to be completed.
Chinese Taipei recorded a 3-0 win against Singapore; Japan did exactly the same in opposition to Kazakhstan.
Chuang Chih-Yuan set Chinese Taipei en route to victory by beating Pang Yew En Koen (13-11, 11-6, 11-7); in a closely contested full distance encounter Chen Chien-An overcame Clarence Chew (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 9-11, 13-11).
Soon after Feng Yi-Hsin brought matters to a conclusion. He overcame Beh Kun Ting (11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Meanwhile, for Japan in opposition to Kazakhstan there were few problems. Yuto Kizukuri overcame Alan Kurmangaliev (11-6, 11-6, 11-6), Shusuke Togami defeated Kirill Gerassimenko (11-6, 11-5, 11-5), prior to Hironoto Shinosuka prevailing against Aidos Kenzigulov (11-6, 11-8, 11-7).
At the semi-final stage Japan meets Chinese Taipei, in the opposite half of the draw, places booked one day earlier, Korea Republic opposes India.
The semi-finals followed by the final of the men’s team event will be played on Friday 1st October.