by Ian Marshall, Editor
Jun Mizutani, the no.13 seed, brought the day to a conclusion. He beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.6 seed, in a dramatic seven games contest decided by the very narrowest of margins (10-12, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10).
Notably it was the second time in the day when Jun Mizutani had prevailed against Lin Yun-Ju.
Earlier partnering colleague, Mima Ito, at the semi-final of the mixed doubles, the no.4 seeds, they had ousted Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, the no.2 seeds (11-2, 11-8, 11-7). China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, the top seeds, await. They reserved their place in the title decider courtesy of success in opposition to Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, the no.8 seeds (11-5, 10-12, 11-2, 9-11, 11-5).
An enthralling final awaits, on their most recent meeting last December in Chengdu in the gold medal contest at the Agricultural Bank of China 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen recovered from a two games to nil deficit to emerge successful by the very narrowest of decisions (9-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-9). I wonder will we be witnessing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games final?
Equally, in the women’s doubles, the Land of the Rising Sun shone brightly.
Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano, the no.6 seeds, after beating Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu, the no.2 seeds (11-2, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6), ousted the formidable combination of Ding Ning and Sun Yingsha, the no.3 seeds (10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10) to reserve their place in the final. They meet a further Chinese pair in the guise of Chen Meng and Wang Manyu, the top seeds.
In the penultimate round, Chen Meng and Wang Manyu ended the hopes of Germany’s Nina Mittelham and Petrissa Solja (11-4, 7-11, 15-13, 11-4).
Successes contrary to status, for Mima Ito it was as anticipated. The no.4 seed, the 19 year old recorded a five games win against colleague and qualifier, Honoka Hashimoto (11-6, 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9). Ding Ning, the no.7 seeds, who received a second round walk-over when due to face Hina Hayata, like Mima Ito from Japan, now awaits.
In the same half of the draw Sun Yingsha, the no.2 seed, plays Wang Manyu, the no.6 seed.
Impressively in the second round both halted Japanese progress. Sun Yingsha overcame Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.10 seed (11-5, 11-3, 14-12, 12-10); Wang Manyu ended the hopes of qualifier, Saki Shibata (10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8).
Applaudable performances from Chinese players; it was the same in the top half of the draw. Chen Meng, the top seed, beat colleague Qian Tianyi (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8), Wang Yidi, like Qian Tianyi required to qualify, overcame colleague, He Zhuojia, the no.13 seed (12-10, 11-5, 11-6, 11-5).
Similarly, Zhu Yuling, the no.5 seed, ousted the host nation’s Petrissa Solja, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5); Liu Shiwen, the no.3 seed, ended any aspirations harboured by compatriot Zhang Rui (9-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6), a player had also been required to compete in the qualification tournament.