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Women's Singles to the Semifinals at WVC2018

By Larry Hodges | June 24, 2018, 3:31 a.m. (ET)

All ten Women's Singles events were played to the semifinals, with the final two rounds of each event tomorrow. Since bronze medals are given out to both losing semifinalists, all of the players in the semifinals have now medaled - but rest assured, all are eyeing gold. Here are complete results. And now for some highlights! (Note that I'm listing the four semifinalists from top to bottom, so the first two listed will be playing in one semifinal, the last two in the other one.)

Women's 40-44 Singles. The four medalists are Rita Kertai (HUN, Zheng Qiuxia (CHN), Trine Grauholm (DEN), and Cecile Ozer (BEL). Not a single USA player made it to the Final 16 - the rest of the world must be really strong here!

Women's 45-49 Singles. The four medalists are Magali Charlier (BEL), Cristina Semenza (ITA), Yang Haiyan (CHN), and Tatjana Michajlova (GER). Like the 40-44 event, not a single USA player made the Final 16.

Women's 50-54 Singles. The four medalists are Olga Nemes, Tong Fei Ming (TPE), Barbara Chiu (CAN), and Katherine Gao (AUS). In the quarterfinals we learn why one should never let up. Chiu won the first two games against Sabrina Moretti, 12-10 and then, amazingly, 11-0!!! It's easy to let up after winning by that score, and sure enough, Moretti won game three, 11-8, before losing the last game 11-6. Like 40-44 and 45-49, not a single USA player made the Final 16.

Women's 55-59 Singles. The four medalists are Kang Su (CHN), Lily Yip (USA), Qin Jianhong (CHN), and Yue Xia Wang/Friden (SWE). Lily broke the USA senior women's curse as the only USA woman to make the Final 16 - and now she's at least a bronze medalist. All four quarterfinal matches here were 3-0. I'm guessing tomorrow's will be closer.

Women's 60-64 Singles. The four medalists are Alice Abbas (AUS), Kai Thornbech (EST), Rei Nagakawa (JPN), and Hu Fenglan (CHN). The only USA player in the Final 16 was Zhu Min Ming, who lost to Mangal Saraf (IND), -6,4,13,10.

Women's 65-69 Singles. The four medalists are Guo Xiaohua (CHN), Ge Yan Jun (USA), Harumi Takeuchi (JPN), and Liy Yanxia (CHN). Cheung Ting Ning (USA) lost to Kim Hae Ja (ARG) in the round of 16, -8,10,9,8.

Women's 70-74 Singles. The four medalists are Gizella Zacher (HUN), Connie Sweeris (USA), Yoko Okano (JPN), and Donna Sakai (USA). Fumi Christensen (USA) lost in the quarterfinals to Okano, 15,-10,4,6. Here's an article on the two USA Hall of Famers.

In the round of 16, Connie faced Chen Yueh-Er (TPE). She led 4-1 in the first game, then lost seven in a row and game one. But as husband/coach Dell Sweeris explained, "She stopped lifting no-spin balls off the end. She just played really well the rest of the way." Both players had strong forehands and short pips on the backhand, but Connie was steadier on the backhand. In the same round Donna Sakai faced Toshiko Satake (JPN), and she too lost the first game. "After the first game my return of serve got better," Donna said, and so she won, -8,8,6,12.

In the quarterfinals, Connie faced Eileen Shaler (ENG). She fell behind 1-4 in the first, then ran away with it, 8,2,3. Donna faced Etsuko Iseki (JPN). After falling behind 1-5 in the first, she went up 10-9, but hurt by an edge at 10-all, lost 12-10. But the rest of the way she was a "grinder," pushing over and over and jumping on the ball whenever Iseki attacked, and Donna won, -10,6,5,4. Down 3-4 in the last game, she ran out the last eight in a row. Donna credited her play to Coach Jozon Lavilla, who trains her at the Las Vegas TTC. He's a former player and coach from the Philippines.

Women's 75-79 Singles. The four medalists are Akiko Ikeda (JPN), Yaeko Onishi (JPN), Ikuko Nagasawa (JPN), and Yoko Arai (JPN). Yep, all four are from Japan! In fact, six of the eight quarterfinalists were from Japan, with the other two from China and England. So we'll just call this the Japan Open. Losing in the round of 16 were two USA players, Monica Sung to Ikuko Nagasawa, 9,7,6, and Ann Alvarez to Yoko Arai (JPN), 4,7,7.

Women's 80-84 Singles. The four medalists are Betty Bird (AUS), Tetsuko Harada (JPN), Reiko Miura (JPN), and Akemi Hayashi (JPN). Yep, another Japanese-dominated event, with three of the semifinalists and five of the quarterfinalists from Japan. No USA players made the final 16.

Women's Over 85 Singles. The four medalists are Reiko Miyagawa (JPN), Pamela Butcher (ENG), Yasu Watanabe (JPN), and Michiko Uchiyama (JPN). There were nine players in the event, and six were from Japan, including three of the medalists. The other three were from England, Sweden, and Korea.