China beats South Africa 1-0 to set up decider vs. Spain

China’s 1-0 victory puts them in a good place to progress. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2019
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China beats South Africa 1-0 to set up decider vs. Spain

  • China evened itself with Spain for second place in Group B with three points. (

PARIS: China is back on track at the Women’s World Cup after a 1-0 win against South Africa on Thursday.
China evened itself with Spain for second place in Group B with three points, and now focuses on its next match and the push to join group leader Germany in the last 16.
Forward Li Ying put 1999 runner-up China ahead in the 40th minute with an opportunist effort. Meeting Zhang Rui’s right-wing cross, she got ahead of her marker and poked the ball into the bottom right corner.
China lost 1-0 to two-time champion Germany in its opening match. South Africa was beaten 3-1 by Spain and now has two losses.
Forward Thembi Kgatlana scored against Spain and was South Africa’s most dangerous player against China, with a chance to equalize in the 76th.
Pouncing on a loose ball inside the left of the penalty area, her shot hit defender Lin Yuping near her right shoulder. There were calls for a penalty but no video review was done.
South Africa is the lowest-ranked team playing, but China worked hard for its win while keeping a close watch on Kgatlana. She made two strong runs in the first half, one down each flank, but her rushed passing let her down each time.
Kgatlana caused problems after the break with her speed and well-timed runs, although she was isolated and not adequately supported.
China will need to improve its finishing against Spain, for the miss of the game came from forward Gu Yasha.
She burst down the left and, after South Africa captain Janine Van Wyk slipped over, smacked the ball so wide it almost went out for a throw-in.
South Africa goalkeeper Kaylin Swart made two smart, late saves, the second a fine finger-tip effort from substitute Yang Li’s curling effort in the 90th.
The 48,000-capacity stadium Parc des Princes stadium was less than half full with 20,011 the attendance given. It has hosted three matches and only France’s opening game against South Korea was full.


Naomi Osaka ends title drought with Pan Pacific Open win

Updated 22 September 2019

Naomi Osaka ends title drought with Pan Pacific Open win

  • The former world number one overwhelmed Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour
  • Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese player to win the Pan Pacific title since Kimiko Date in 1995

TOKYO: Japan’s Naomi Osaka ended an eight-month title drought by winning the Pan Pacific Open in her home city on Sunday, her first trophy since her second consecutive Grand Slam triumph at the Australian Open in January.
The former world number one overwhelmed Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour to make it third time lucky in finals at the tournament after finishing runner-up in 2016 and 2018.
The US-based star, winner of last year’s US Open, was born in Osaka and it was clearly a happy homecoming for the 21-year-old who beamed and smiled her way through a dominant week on court.
She became the first Japanese player to win the Pan Pacific title since Kimiko Date in 1995.
“I have played finals here. This is my third time. So, I am really glad that I was able to win, and for it to be in the city where I was born makes it really special,” Osaka said.
“I think my serves have been doing really well the last two matches,” she said.
“I think that definitely helped me out especially today since she (Pavlyuchenkova) is such a great returner,” added the big-hitting world number four who stormed through the tournament without dropping a set.
Pavlyuchenkova had no answer to Osaka’s powerful and precise serving as the Japanese won a perfect 100 percent of points when her first serve was successful and battered down four aces.
Osaka raced into a 3-0 lead early on and was rarely troubled thereafter as the Russian world number 41 was outclassed, unable to force a break point while the home crowd favorite broke Pavlyuchenkova twice in the first set and once in the second set with an array of powerful groundstrokes from both wings.
Osaka’s victory march was momentarily interrupted when her apparent match-winning ace was overruled after a Pavlyuchenkova challenge.
But it mattered not as a wide-angled Osaka backhand when the point was replayed sealed the match moments later when the Russian netted.
The victory avenged Osaka’s defeat to Pavlyuchenkova in their only prior encounter, when the Russian beat the top seed in straight sets en route to the 2017 Hong Kong Open title.