Top seeds China and Japan professionally booked their places in the ITTF World Cup final four with comfortable victories over USA and Singapore respectively in London.
They will be joined at the penultimate stage by Hong Kong and DPR Korea who, at the very least, guaranteed themselves a medal with victories over Romania and Chinese Taipei.
China made short work of the Americans despite falling 4-0 behind early in game one to the pair of Amy Wang and Wu Yue. Any American hope, however, was quickly extinguished as China took eight straight points and cantered to the opening doubles winning 5,7,2.
Wang Menyu (world number 5) then took on Lily Zhang, America’s key player, but the Chinese player looked in total control from the get-go. The American had a one point lead in game 3, but it was her only moment of joy, with Wang winning 8, 4, 5.
China completed victory with a straight sets win for Liu Shiwen over Wu Yue.
In Japan and Singapore’s quarter both sides put out arguably their second choice doubles pairings, keeping key players back for singles action.
Japan’s Mina Ito and Hina Hayata started strong and stayed ahead against Yee Herng Hwee and Yu Mengyu winning 2, 7, 8.
In the opening singles, world number 3 Feng Tianwei was seeking revenge for her defeat at the hands of Kasuma Ishikawa at the Rio Olympics, but that will have to wait for another day as Ishikawa won 13-11 in the third – rattling off two quick winners after being warned for slow play.
Keeping the tie alive, Singapore’s Yu Mengyu set aside 37 world ranking places to pull off a shock nerve-jangling win against Hina Hayata in four games. However, it was too big a task to ask world no. 363 Yee Herng Hwee to stop world no.4 Ishikawa.
The young Singaporean amassing just eight points in the whole match.
In Romania’s quarter the duo of Elizabeta Samara and Daniela Dodean Monteiro started fast out of the blocks with the doubles match taking the first 11-6 but got unhinged from then on, losing 3-1 to Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching.
When Soo Wai Yam Minnie defeated Romanian hope Bernadette Szocs in a dramatic 3-2 singles fixture the tie as a whole was all but dead. Hong Kong’s strength in depth telling as they knocked out the final European side in the competition.
In the final women’s quarter-final DPR Korea beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 to upset the seedings and earn a semi-final against Japan. Kim Song I won a big singles match against Cheng I-Ching while Cha Hyo Sim won her doubles and singles matches to complete a DPR Korea clean sweep.
Japan 3-1 Singapore
Hina Hayata/Mima Ito bt Yee Herng Hwee/Yu Mengyu 3-0 (11-2, 11-7, 11-8)
Kasumi Ishikawa bt Feng Tianwei 3-0 (12-10, 11-8, 13-11)
Yu Mengyu bt Hina Hayata 3-1 (11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10)
Kasumi Ishikawa bt Yee Herng Hwee 3-0 (11-2, 11-2, 11-4)
DPR Korea 3-0 Chinese Taipei
Cha Hyo Sim/Kim Nam Hae bt Cheng Hsien-Tzu/Chen Szu-Yu 3-2 (9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7)
Kim Song I bt Cheng I-Ching 3-1 (11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-3)
Cha Hyo Sim bt Chen Szu-Yu 2-1 (11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5)
Hong Kong 3-0 Romania
Doo Hoi Kem/Lee Ho Ching bt Daniela Monteiro Dodean/Elizabeta Samara 3-1 (6-11, 18-16, 11-6, 11-5)
Soo Wai Yam Minnie bt Bernadette Szocs 3-2 (11-9, 1-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8)
Lee Ho Ching bt Elizabeta Samara 3-0 (13-11, 11-6, 11-8)
China 3-0 USA
Ding Ning/Liu Shiwen bt Wu Yue/Amy Wang 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 11-2)
Wang Manyu bt Lily Zhang 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-5)
Liu Shiwen bt Wu Yue 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-8)