by Simon Daish
Diaz went into the re-match knowing that she had let a 2-1 lead slip against Shibata in Bulgaria, and although the Puerto Rican is the higher ranked of the two players, arguably Shibata entered the Round of 64 tie as the slight favourite having won the Under 21 title in Panagyurishte.
The start of the match at the Czech Open was tense, the first game being decided by the narrowest of margins, as Diaz took the lead.
Then all of a sudden, Shibata pulled a terrific performance out of the bag in the next game limiting the Puerto Rican to just a single point, but just when the situation looked grim for Diaz she raised her level.
Back-to-back ends put Diaz 3-1 ahead and the momentum had swung back in her direction. Shibata attempted a fightback by taking game five but Diaz would have none of it as the 15-year-old won the sixth game to complete her revenge (12-10, 1-11, 11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 11-8).
Contingent Thinning for Germany
Germany’s Sabine Winter narrowly avoided a shock defeat to Lin Po-Hsuan (Chinese Taipei), as their match went right to the final game.
Winter, ranked 48th in the world, was looking good for the win after going 2-0 in front against Lin (210th). However, out of nowhere Lin stole three consecutive ends to move to within a game from achieving an almighty upset.
There was no more room for error from Winter and she held her nerve (11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9) to book a last 32 encounter with Russia’s Maria Dolgikh.
One more German progressed as Kristin Silbereisen overcame Wang Yi-Ju (Chinese Taipei) across five closely fought games, but there will be just the two competitors from Germany following Wan Yuan and Chantal Mantz’s exits to Jung Yumi (Korea Republic) and Georgina Pota (Hungary).
Japanese Victory Inevitable?
Japan’s participants look set to fill out the majority of the spots in the latter stages of the competition, as eight of their players have advanced to the next round of the Women’s Singles.
The top two seeds Hitomi Sato and Yui Hamamoto went through as expected and will be joined in the Round of 32 by Miyu Maeda, Misaki Morizono, Sakura Mori, Yuka Ishigaki, Maki Shiomi and Honoko Hashimoto, all of whom represent Japan.
Tasty Encounters in Last 32
With the Women’s Singles tournament to resume, the afternoon will feature some interesting encounters.
India’s Mouma Das will give it her all against Hitomi Sato, Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc (Poland) will attempt to fend off challenger Mo Zhang (Canada) and Georgina Pota of Hungary will take on the final home player remaining, Renata Strbikova.
Friday 2nd September: Women’s Singles – Main Draw