YOKOHAMA – Kasumi Ishikawa was sent crashing out in the quarterfinals of women’s singles by world No. 1 Zhang Yining of China at the world table tennis championships on Sunday.
The 16-year-old Ishikawa’s only consolation was that she won a game but eventually succumbed to the two-time Olympic champion 11-4, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7. Ishikawa was aiming to become the first Japanese woman to win a medal in this event in 40 years.
“I am happy that I was able to play Zhang in the world championships. She is really great at rallies and went on the attack first. She is much better than I am now,” Ishikawa said.
In the men’s bracket, Kaii Yoshida was the other casualty as he was defeated in the quarterfinals by Chinese top-seed Wang Hao 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 11-4 at Yokohama Arena.
Earlier, third seeds Jun Mizutani and Seiya Kishikawa beat Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore in the quarterfinals to secure a medal in men’s doubles for Japan for the first time in 12 years.
But it was a day of disappointment for Ai Fukuhara and partner Sayaka Hirano in women’s doubles after they were walloped in straight sets by top-seed Chinese pair Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia.
Mizutani and Kishikawa rallied in a 9-11, 11-2, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 13-11 victory and with no playoff for third place become the first Japanese men to claim a medal since Hiroshi Shibutani and Koji Matsushita won bronze at the 1997 worlds in Manchester, England.
“I missed getting a medal at the Beijing Olympics by just a little, so I wanted to use that disappointment as a springboard to get one here,” said Mizutani.
Mizutani and Kishikawa set up a semifinal showdown with second seeds Ma Long and Xu Xin of China.
“We probably only have about a 10 percent chance of beating the Chinese pair but you never know what could happen,” Mizutani said.
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