26 Aug 2016

Places in the main draw of the Women’s Singles event at the Asarel 2016 Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte at stake; Japan’s Saki Shibata and Yu Amano, the top two names on duty, both secured first places in their respective group on Thursday 25th August but it was their colleague, Mariko Takahashi who was the player to attract the attention.

She was the player to cause the most notable upset.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

No current World ranking, on the opening day of play she had beaten the host nation’s Kristina Vramencalieva (11-5, 12-10, 11-4, 11-2), before on the second say of action continuing the good form.

She defeated Russia’s Daria Chernova, listed at no.221 on the current World rankings (11-4, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-5) to reserve first position in the group.

Defeat for Russia but there were three fine performances and a slice of good fortune.

Success a Status Advised

Olga Vorobeva duly secured first place in her group by beating Bulgaria’s Monika Tsaneva (11-2, 11-2, 11-2, 11-3) and Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut (11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 11-5).

The wins were as status predicted. Currently Olga Vorobeva is named at no.142 on the Women’s World Rankings; Jinnipa Sawettabut is at no.328 with Monika Tsaneva having no global status.

Impressive Performances

However, the first places gained by Valeria Shcherbatykh and Maria Malanina were not necessarily to be anticipated.

Valeria Shcherbatykh beat the host nation’s Nenka Tushlekova (11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8) and Turkey’s Sibel Remzi (11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10); Maria Malanina accounted for India’s Reeth Tennison (11-4, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6), Bulgaria’s Zarena Koeva (11-5, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8) and most pertinently Chinese Taipei’s Wang Yi-Ju (11-6, 11-6, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4).

Noteworthy Efforts

Arguably the outcome was as anticipated but the wins against Sibel Remzi and Wang Yi-Ju were worthy of note.

Presently Valeria Shcherbatykh is listed at no.249 on the Women’s World Rankings; Sibel Remzi has no such status owing to an absence from the international scene. However, earlier this year in July Sibel Remzi was named at no.183.

Likewise, Maria Malanina in named at no.197, Wang Yi-Ju at no.222; little difference but earlier this year in July the gap was even less. Wang Yi-Ju was at no.218, Maria Malanina one place lower at no.219.

Lucky Loser

The good fortune; that belonged to Irina Ermakova; in her concluding contest she was beaten by Romania’s Irina Ciobanu (12-10, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3) and had to settle for second place in the group.

However, fortune smiled on the 36 year old Russian; she gained one of the two “Lucky Loser” places available.

A Favour

Meanwhile, the one other surprise first place was that gained by India Ayhika Mukherjee; having lost Bulgaria’s Anelia Kanova in seven games the previous day (11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 14-12), she needed a favour from Andreea Dragoman who she had beaten on four games on the opening day of action (11-5, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7).

Andreea Dragoman duly obliged; she beat Anelia Kanova in four straight games (11-8, 11-9, 13-11, 11-8).

Thus on games ratio, it was first place for Ayhika Mukherjee (7:4) followed bt Andreea Dragoman (4:4) and Anelia Karnova (4:7).

Andreea Dragoman is currently named at no.150 on the Women’s World Rankings; neither Ayhika Mukherjee nor Anelia Karnova appear on the current listings.

Main Draw

Play in the main draw commences on Friday 26th August.


World Tour Bulgaria Open Maria Malanina Mariko Takahashi Valaria Shcherbartykh