[UPDATE - Sunday, June 18, 5:50pm]
China's 16-year-old table tennis star Sun Ying-sha achieved a stunning victory over world ranked No. 5 and fellow Chinese player Chen Meng to claim the women's title at the Japan Open in Tokyo. She had earlier defeated 18-year-old compatriot,Wang Man-yu in the semi-finals in straight sets.
2014 and 2015 world junior champion Wang Manyu of China is in the semi-finals of the Japan Open after defeating 16-year-old Mima Ito of Japan in the women’s singles quarter-finals on Saturday.
Ito made a bright start, but threw away chances to beat 18-year-old Wang, who defeated Japanese third seed Kasumi Ishikawa a day earlier in the first round.
“This one is tough to swallow after having come this far,” Ito said of Wang. “She’s someone who has a really bright future. If I don’t beat her now, I won’t have a shot in the future so I wanted to win. But I’m sure I’ll have another chance.”
Wang fell behind 2 matches to 0 in the best-of-seven but kept her composure for the next four games. Ito had opportunities to make a comeback in the fifth, but repeatedly smashed her shots into the net. Wang will face fellow countrywomen Sun Ying-sha in the semi-final.
“She was creative, changed her serves, made it difficult for me to return and shook me around side to side,” said Ito, who won the team bronze at the Rio Olympic Games last summer.
“I didn’t play well in some matches but persevered to win them. Next time, I want to win outright.”
Asian champ Miu Hirano was taken to seven games against a resilient Jeon Ji Hee but downed the South Korean to book her place in the last eight.
The Japanese fifth seed dropped the first game 15-13 before finding a way through Jeon’s fast counter to lead 2-1.
“I realised she was looking to counter my forehands and I was made to think,” Hirano said. “I played her in the doubles before and lost so I knew she was very strong. I prepared as well as I could and am glad to get the win.”
Nine-time defending national champion Jun Mizutani reached the last eight in the men’s singles after coming back from behind to win 4-1 against 15th seed Kristian Karlsson of Sweden.
Rio bronze medalist Mizutani lost four straight points from 10-8 to give away the opening game, but came out on top after some spectacular rallies to win the next four games.
“I made silly mistakes but switched my mind quickly, there was still room to relax,” Mizutani said. “I’d like to give more consistency to my play as I was making mistakes when he narrowed my lead.”
Koki Niwa took the third game but was eliminated in the quarter-finals by world No. 1 Ma Long of China.
“I had good serves and returns and was getting the upper hand but I couldn’t win points when it came to rallies,” said Niwa. “I thought I was a match for the first three games, but he moved his feet quickly in the fourth and fifth as he took it up a notch. But it was good to be able to play Ma at full strength.”