Even though 30 minutes had passed after pulling off a major shock win over world number one Wang Yihan, Japan’s Eriko Hirose was still in a state of delusion.
The feeling of putting a dent on the Great Wall of China had yet to sink in for the petite Eriko who was grinning from ear to ear at the post match press conference.
“It is truly a memorable moment for me as this is my greatest ever achievement. You do not often beat the world number one and doing it at this level is really something I did not expect,” said Eriko.
“When I stepped onto the court to face her, all I wanted to do was give her a good fight. But as the match progressed I knew that she was vulnerable and I took my chances.
“Even after losing the first set I knew I was with a chance and just returned every shots, letting her make the mistakes.”
The 25-year-old Eriko proved that her win over Yihan during the Uber Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur this May was not a flash in the pan as she recovered from a first set defeat to win 20-22, 21-16,21-18 in 75 minutes.
Yihan was left in tears and was shell shocked when asked for comments by Chinese TV stations.
She failed to keep her emotions in check as tears rolled down her cheeks, trying to come to terms that her World Championships was over.
“I really do not know what to say. Somehow Eriko managed to read my game to precision and countered whatever I could conjure,” said Yihan.
“ Eriko was in her best form and my game was not really up to expectations. I am sad to have lost but credit to my opponent.”
In the men’s singles though, it was plain sailing for the favourites as Peter Hoeg Gade had little difficulty overcoming the challenge of Marc Zwiebler, winning 21-14,21-15.
Despite just 16 hours between his second round three set thriller against South Korea’s Shon last night, Gade was in his element and will now take on Japan’s Kazushi Yamada in the last eight.
“I had to play intelligently and not let Marc seize the initiative as I had yet to recover from the match last night,” said Gade.
“I have not played Yamada but from what I have observed he is full of energy and can surprise if I let my guard down.”
Gade also dispelled the notion that the bottom half of the draw was favourable to him given that most seeded players had lost.
“That’s an opinion of others and I do not think that is correct as players who are in these championships have a certain level. And if they progress, then it is because they are the better players on that day.”
Also moving into the quarterfinals was the invincible Lin Dan of China who brushed aside the challenge of his countryman Bao Chunlai, winning 21-16, 21-13 in 42 minutes.
Joining Lin Dan and Gade was fourth seed Chen Jin who defeated Singapore’s Ashton Chen 21-17,21-10.
But it was curtains for ninth seed Boonsak Polsana of Thailand who lost to Chinese Taipeh’s Hsueh Hsuan Yi 21-13, 21-11.
In the last eight Hsueh will play Chen Jin while Peter Gade takes on Yamada.