(by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor)
Surprise winners at US Open, notable names depart in early rounds
Seizing the opportunities presented, against the odds Yuki Shoji won the Women’s Singles title at the 2017 United States Open in Las Vegas on Thursday 21st December, an event in which Japanese names dominated and celebrated names fell.
Notably there were early exits for the top four seeds as the host nation’s Lily Zhang, Wu Yue and Crystal Wang alongside Mexico’s Yadira Silva all fell in their quest to gain a podium finish.
At the final hurdle Yuki Shoji accounted for Japanese colleague, Chiaki Kato (8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 15-13, 12-10, 9-11, 11-4), having in the second round ended the hopes of Yadira Silva, the no.3 seed (11-4, 11-7, 11-7, 11-3), prior to overcoming the host nation duo of Rachel Sung (11-8, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7) and Liu Ying (9-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7) to reserve her place in the final.
Success against Liu Ying and a most notable success, at the quarter-final stage she had beaten Lily Zhang, the top seed (12-14, 11-4, 13-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Similarly, on her journey to the final, Chiaki Kato caused a major upset, after having recorded an opening round win over Lavanya Maruthapandian (11-3, 11-9, 11-4, 11-2 ), she accounted for a further United States adversary in the guise of Wu Yue, the no.2 seed (11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-3), before overcoming compatriot, Yukiha Tamaishi (11-1, 15-13, 11-4, 11-5) and Li Ruini from the United States (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 11-3) to reserve her place in the final.
Pertinently, just as Liu Jing had caused a major quarter-final upset prior to experiencing a semi-final exit, so did Li Ruini; in the round of the last eight she ended the hopes of Crystal Wang, the no.4 seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7).
Earlier than anticipated exits in the Women’s Singles event; it was the same in the Under 21 Women’s Singles competition.
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