Women's Singles Champions Crowned at WVC2018

By Larry Hodges | June 25, 2018, 8:04 a.m. (ET)



All twenty women's semifinal matches were played at the same time, 10AM Sunday. All ten finals matches were played at the same time, 12:15 PM Sunday. Here are complete results.

Women's 40-44 Singles

The final was a five-game battle, with Rita Kertai (HUN) pulling away in the end against Cecile Ozer (BEL), 9,-13,8,-8,5.

  • Gold: Rita Kertai (HUN)

  • Silver: Cecile Ozer (BEL)

  • Bronze: Zheng Qiuxia (CHN) and Trine Grauholm (DEN)


Women's 45-49 Singles

The final was a classic, strong attacking looper (Cristina Semenza (ITA) versus strong attacking chopper Yang Haiyan (CHN). Most points started with Semenza attacking. If the point went on long, eventually she'd push, and often Yang would come in to attack with her forehand. They battled to the end, with the chopper, who had match points in the fourth, finally winning, 6,-7,9,-15,9.

 

  • Gold: Yang Haiyan (CHN)

  • Silver: Cristina Semenza (ITA)

  • Bronze: Magali Charlier (BEL) and Tatjana Michajlova (GER)


Women's 50-54 Singles
The top seed, Olga Nemes, lost in the semifinals to Tong Fei Ming, who represented Taiwan in the 2000 Olympics, 5,8,10. I hadn't recognized her name until after this match, and then I remembered her as a star back then. In the other semifinal, Canada's Barbara Chiu won against Austria's Katherine Gao, -10,4,3,6. The final went to Tong, 7,7,-7,6.

 

  • Gold: Tong Fei Ming (TPE)

  • Silver: Barbara Xiao Wen Chiu (CAN)

  • Bronze: Olga Nemes (GER) and Katherine Sui Ying Gao (SUI)


Women's 55-59 Singles

USA's Lily Yip defeated Kang Xu of China in the semifinals, 9,10,-4,7, and there were high hopes of a gold. A huge crowd came to cheer for Lily in the final against Qin Jianhong (CHN). Both are vintage pips-out penholders, Qin a lefty. While Lily drives more directly into the ball, Qin topspins a bit more with her pips for consistency. Lily had great difficulty with Qin's serve at the start, saying she often thought the backspin serves were topspin and so lost the first two badly before things got closer. Match to Qin, 5,6,-11,8.

 

  • Gold: Qin Jianhong (CHN

  • Silver: Lily Yip (USA)

  • Bronze: Kang Su (CHN), Wang/Friden Yue Xia (SWE)


Women's 60-64 Singles

The big battle here was Kai Thornbech (EST) over Alice Abbas (AUS) in the semifinals with a bunch of 8's: 9,-8,8,-8,8. The games of the final were also close, but 3-0 for Hu Fenglan over Kai, 10,9,9.

 

  • Gold: Hu Fenglan (CHN)

  • Silver: Kai Thornbech (EST)

  • Bronze: Alice Abbas (AUS) and Rei Hagakawa (JPN)


Women's 65-69 Singles

USA's Ge Yan Jun went up 2-1 in the final against Liu Yanxiao (CHN), but China got the gold, 7,-9,-7,3,7. On the lighter - but sadder - side: Charlene Liu won a bronze in Women's 60-64 Singles at the 2014 World Veterans, and a silver in Women's 60-64 Doubles in 2016 with Patty Martinez. She'd hoped to medal here in Women's 65-69 - but she didn't play well in singles or doubles (with Patty). Her sponge didn't feel right. After the tournament she looked at her racket and discovered she'd accidentally put Tenergy 64 on it instead of her usual Tenergy 05. Oops!

 

  • Gold: Liu Yanxia (CHN)

  • Silver: Ge Yan Jun (USA)

  • Bronze: Guo Xiaohua (CHN) and Harumi Takeuchi (JPN)


Women's 70-74 Singles

"I had the luck of the draw," said Donna Sakai to Connie Sweeris after their semifinal matches. Connie played Gizella Zacher (HUN), a chopper/counterdriver with long pips - she played like a chopper but would often attack Connie's opening shots. It wasn't a good style matchup for Connie and perhaps not for Donna, and a very patient Zacher, chopping and pick-hitting, won at 4,4,5.

In the other semifinal, Donna played Yoko Okano (JPN), who also played with long pips, but she was more of a rallier. There was a lot of pushing as Donna did her usual grinding out of points. She won the first 11-9. In the second she was down 0-5, then led 10-9, 11-10, 12-11 and 13-12 before winning 14-12. Then something happened - Okano began to play more and more aggressive, especially with the forehand, and she won the next two somewhat easily at 6 and 8. Before the fifth, coach/husband Dave Sakai told Donna, "You have to make shots. Attack her long pips with your backhand. Don't let her hit two forehands in a row - block the first to her backhand long pips." The tactics failed miserably the first point of game five - but down 0-1, Donna won ten in a row!!! (Yep, the tactics worked.) So match to Donna, 9,12,-6,-8,3.

But the luck of the draw only postponed the Sakai-Zacher match one round. The final started out as a blowout, with Zacher going up 9-1 on Donna and winning 11-4. Zacher is pushing, chopping, and pick-hitting, and Donna can't seem to get into it. But starting in game two, Donna got a little more aggressive, and also pushed more to the forehand, and began to grind out the points. Donna led game two 7-6, but in the course of sixty seconds missed three pushes, and was down 7-9 and on the verge of going down 0-2. But as she had done over and over when she needed to score, score she did - four in a row to win game two. In game three Donna led 8-4, 9-6, then it was 9-9, 10-9, 10-all. But two Zacher pushes into the net and Donna was up 2-1 in games. In the fourth, Donna led 8-7, three points from victory, but Zacher scored four in a row. And so into the fifth - and suddenly Zacher could do no wrong, and Donna's backhand hitting began to miss: 6-0, 9-1 (just like the first game), 11-2. So match and the gold medal to Zacher, 4,-9,-10,8,2.

 

  • Gold: Gizella Zacher (HUN)

  • Silver: Donna Sakai (USA)

  • Bronze: Connie Sweeris (USA) and Yoko Okano (JPN)


The Japanese Invasion

The Japanese completely dominated the three oldest women's divisions. It is my professional opinion that somewhere in Japan is a large training facility devoted to the training of 75-90-year-old women, who spend their days doing footwork drills, multiball training, weight training, running, jumping rope, pushups, and situps. It's the only explanation. Only a Bird from Austria and a Butcher from England ruined the perfect Japanese sweep of the medals - but they did sweep the gold and silver and take four of the six bronzes.

Women's 75-79 Singles

  • Gold: Ikuko Nagasawa (JPN)

  • Silver: Akiko Ikeda (JPN)

  • Bronze: Yaeko Onishi (JPN) and Yoko Arai (JPN)

Women's 80-84 Singles

  • Gold: Akemi Hayashi (JPN)

  • Silver: Tetsuko Harada (JPN)

  • Bronze: Betty Bird (AUS) and Reiko Miura (JPN)


Women's Over 85 Singles

  • Gold: Reiko Miyagawa (JPN)

  • Silver: Yasu Watanabe (JPN)

  • Bronze: Pamela Butcher (ENG) and Michiko Uchiyama (JPN)