Success for China, mixed fortunes for Singapore and Japan was the order of the morning of Tuesday 31st July in the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the splendours of the ExCeL Arena.
Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia both recorded straight games victories in their bid to maintain the Chinese tradition of always having provided the gold medallist in the event at the quadrennial spectacular.
Li Xiaoxia brought the morning’s play to a conclusion by overcoming Li Jiao of the Netherlands in four straight games (11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7), after Ding Ning had succeeded by a similar margin against Japan’s Ai Fukuhara (15-13, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4).
Defeat for Ai Fukuhara but earlier there had been success for the Land of the Rising Sun, with Kasumi Ishikawa defeating Singapore’s Wang Yuegu after the latter’s colleague, Feng Tianwei had defeated Korea’s Kim Kyungah.
The success of Feng Tianwei, the 6 seed, over Kim Kyungah, the no.3 seed, was the upset of the four matches.
They had met on five previous occasions in World ranking events, with Kim Kyungah having succeeded four times; the only win for Feng Tianwei had come in 2009 in the first stage of the Volkswagen Women’s World Cup.
Furthermore, when they had met just over one month earlier in the final of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Brazil Open, Kim Kyungah had won in five games.
In their last eight duel in the ExCeL Arena, Feng Tianwei maintained her patience and her focus to post a six games win (13-11, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6, 10-12, 12-10) in a contest that lasted over an hour.
At the end of the contest, a very tired but highly satisfied Feng Tianwei departed the arena.
A surprise and arguably the second match of the morning resulted in a surprise even, though Kasumi Ishikawa was the fourth seed and Wang Yuegu, the eighth seed.
At international level, Kasumi Ishikawa and Wang Yuegu had met on three previous occasions, the Singaporean had won all three duels.
Changed After First Game
It seemed as though the pattern was to continue as Wang Yuegu comfortably won the first game; Kasumi Ishikawa was not able to establish a rhythm.
However, from the second game onwards, it was a total reverse situation.
Kasumi Ishikawa found her touch, established a rhythm and there was no looking back. She won in five games (8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4), to book a place in the quarter-finals at her first ever Olympic Games.
Saved Game Points
Next on the agenda came Ding Ning in opposition to Ai Fukuhara; after a close first game when Ding Ning saved a total of six game points, the reigning World champion assumed control to eventually book her place in the penultimate round.
It was a confident Ding Ning who concluded proceedings and it was a much more confident Li Xiaoxia who defeated Li Jiao.
In her open two matches, she had felt the pressure when playing Ariel Hsing of the United States and Korea’s Park Miyoung; against Li Jiao, she gradually gained in confidence as the match progressed.
At the semi-final stage Ding Ning meets Feng Tianwei, Li Xiaoxia confronts Kasumi Ishikawa.
photo Getty Images