Fukuhara still in hunt for title

first_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 Ai Fukuhara got off to a winning start Friday, advancing past her opening fourth-round match in the women’s singles at the Table Tennis National Championships. Fukuhara, who has already booked her spot for this summer’s Beijing Olympics but is in a bid to win her first national title, downed Ayumi Yoshida 4-2 while Sayaka Hirano and 2007 semifinalist Kasumi Ishikawa also reached the fifth round. The 19-year-old Fukuhara got off to a jittery start, falling behind 2-1 before settling down to win three straight games at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. But she appeared nervous and stiff throughout and failed to use her forehand effectively. Miyu Maeda, an 11-year-old elementary school student, beat Hime Togo in full sets in the third round before bowing out to 2007 quarterfinalist Moemi Terui in the next round. In men’s singles action, Aomori Yamada high school student Jun Mizutani, who became the youngest to win a national title at 17 years and 7 months last year, advanced to the fifth round along with Yo Kan and four-time champion Koji Matsushita. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMESlast_img

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