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Line-up, not as anticipated, surprise women’s singles semi-finalists

Monday 04 October

Upsets abounded, when played closed on Sunday 3rd September, in the women’s singles event at the 2021 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Doha, all four semi-finalists were surprise names.

Japan’s Minami Ando, Saki Shibata and Hina Hayata alongside Korea Republic’s Shin Yubin booked last four places.

At the quarter-final Minami Ando and Saki Shibata caused Korea Republic problems. Minami Ando, not seeded, beat Jeon Jihee, the top seed (11-3, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 12-10), Saki Shibata, the no.8 seed, overcame Suh Hyowon, the no.4 seed (11-8, 15-13, 14-12).

Likewise, Hina Hayata, the no.6 seed, defeated Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-7); Shin Yubin overcame Zhu Chengzhu (11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11, 11-3), also from Hong Kong and likewise a player not seeded.

However, the win could well be considered surprise; they had met on four prior occasions on the international stage, Zhu Chengzhu had won all four meetings.

Minami Ando now opposes Shin Yubin, Saki Shibata faces Hina Hayata.

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles semi-finals there is just one unexpected semi-final name.

Japan’s Shunsuke Togami, who the previous day had ended the hopes of Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.2 seed (11-7, 11-8, 15-13), booked his last eight place by defeating colleague Hiroto Shinozuke (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 11-7).

In the penultimate round, Shunsuke Togami confronts Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.3 seed and quarter-final winner against India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-8, 11-9). In the opposite half of the draw, Jang Woojin, the top seed and like Lee Sangsu from Korea Republic, faces Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.4 seed.

Worthy performances, at the quarter-final stage both Lee Sangsu and Chuang Chih-Yuan ended Japanese aspirations. Jang Woojin beat Kazuhiro Yoshimura (11-4, 11-4, 11-4); Chuang Chih-Yuan ended the hopes of Yuto Kizukuri (11-9, 11-4, 11-5).

Meanwhile, in the men’s doubles, India is very much to the fore. At the quarter-final stage Harmeet Desai and Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.6 seeds, caused a major upset by overcoming Iran’s Nima Alamian and Noshad Alamian, the top seeds (12-10, 11-5, 11-6); similarly, Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, the no.7 seeds, ended the progress of Singapore’s Clarence Chew and Beh Kun Ting (11-9, 11-7, 12-10).

Harmeet Desai and Manav Vikash Thakkar now face Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin  and Lim Jonghoon, the no.5 seeds; Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran oppose Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda, the no.2 seeds.

Hong Kong suffered, Jang Woojin  and Lim Jonghoon beat Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.4 seeds (11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 11-5) to reserve their semi-final place; in the opposite half of the draw, Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda overcame Lam Siu Hang and Ng Pak Nam (11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-2).

Disappointment for Hong Kong, at the quarter-final sage of the women’s doubles there was success.

Progress contrary to expectations for Saki Shibata

Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.5 seeds, beat Japan’s Hitomi Sato and Saki Shibata, the no.4 seeds (12-10, 4-11, 11-3, 4-11, 12-10) and now meet Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu and Liu Hsing-Yin, the no.2 seeds. They reserved their semi-final place by overcoming Singapore’s Lin Ye and Wong Xin Ru, the no.8 seeds (11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8).

Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin, the top seeds, meet Minami Ando and Japanese colleague, Miyu Nagasaki, the no.6 seeds.

Contrasting outcomes, Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Zhu Chengzhu, the no.7 seeds in straight games to reserve their penultimate round place (11-2, 11-5, 11-5); conversely, Minami Ando and Miyu Nagasaki needed to beat India’s Ayikha Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee (11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 7-11, 11-8).

Play concludes in Doha on Tuesday 5th October

Editor: Ian Marshall

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