Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa , still only 17, set the hall buzzing with some of the snappiest up to the table play ever seen in England. Her game against World no. two and second seed Guo Yue was truly breath-taking and some of the rallies had to be seen to be believed. Ishikawa led 3-1 and her chances looked to have vanished when Guo Yue, the 2007 World Singles Champion pulled back to 3-3. But, the Japanese star held her nerve and with some stunning play she triumphed 11-8, 2-11, 11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 11-13, 11-7. The best match of the Tournament so far.

Ishikawa will play World no. six Li Xiaoxia in the Quarter-Final. Xiaoxia came through in four games against Singapore’s Li Jiawei (now ranked no. 31 globally but having been a career high no. three ) in another marvellous match. On any other day this would have been the best match of the round. But, not today. Xiaoxia won 12-10, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9.

World no. one and defending Champion Guo Yan had fewer problems against Chinese defender Fan Ying, an excellent 4-3 winner over World no. 14 Sayaka Hirano in the previous round. Guo Yan blasted her way through her compatriot’s defence 11-4, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5.

Guo Yan, will meet Park Mi Young (Korea) the World no. 14 in the Quarter-Final. Defender Park beat the World no. 63 Petra Lovas (Hungary) 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7 to book her last eight appearance. There was another major shock in the next quarter, World no. five Kim Kyung Ah (Korea), who with Park Mi Young was such a memorable winner of the Ladies Doubles Final in the 2009 English Open was no match for her team-mate Hyun Jung Moon (World Ranked no. 66). On this occasion the attacker had all the answers and raced through the match 11-5, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3.

Hyun faces a formidable opponent in the next round, World no. four and 2009 Runner-up Liu Shiwen. Liu Shiwen only dropped one end in an otherwise dominant performance against World no. 87 Irene Ivancan (Germany) who had reached this stage by beating World no. 38 Elizabeta Samara (Romania). Shiwen won 11-2, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5, 11-4.

Feng Tianwei (Singapore), the third seed and the driving force behind Singapore’s stunning victory over China in the 2010 World Team Final looked in good form as she beat team-mate Sun Beibei 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2). Noticeably lighter this year she will be looking to add to her two ITTF Pro Tour victories and her superb triumph in last year’s ITTF Pro Tour Final. She will meet former World no. one Junior and current World no. seven – Ding Ning. The Chinese girl beat Seok Ha Jung (the World no. 17) after four close games 12-10, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.

Steve Kerns