Kasumi Ishikawa continued her form from the U21s into the doubles

Mixed results for Japanese pairings

The second batch of Ladies Doubles quarter-finals at the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals saw two Japanese pairings in action. They met with mixed success. Ai Fukuhara/Kasumi Ishikawa, seeded three here, the World no. eight and seven ranked players gave a very assured performance to beat the Chinese Taipei pairing of Cheng I-Ching and Huang Yi-Hua 11-8, 12-10,11-3, 11-9.

Team-mates – Hiroko Fujii and Misako Wakamiya, the no. two seeds here and ranked 30 and 49 in the World were defeated by the Korean pairing – Seok Ha Jung and Yang Ha Eun, the sixth seeds but higher ranked globally at numbers 23 and 20 respectively. After six games of razor-sharp counter-hitting table tennis the Korean girls prevailed 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5.

Ai Fukahara, a quarter-finalist in the Womens Singles in the World Championships when she was 14 had this to say about the game – “It went much as we hoped for. Before the match we studied videos of their play. We played well and I am pleased to say we didn’t make many mistakes at all”.

Kasumi Ishikawa was equally buoyant – “We would love to meet the Chinese in the final. We will give it our best shot”.  She added “Because I am left-handed I think I will play Doubles in the Olympics”.

Steve Kerns