by Simon Daish
Diaz Edges Into Last 16
Adriana Diaz is just one win away from qualifying for the 2016 Belarus Open Women’s Singles quarter-finals, following her 4-2 success over Daria Chernoray .
Chernoray (Russia) was on the receiving end of Diaz’s Round of 16 success, but the opening four games of the encounter saw constant momentum swings between the two competitors.
Diaz took games one and three and Chernoray was victorious in the second and fourth games leaving the tie level; the teenager from Puerto Rico eventually found her feet before snatching the two following ends (11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5), subsequently qualifying through to the next stage.
Five Out of Five for Japan
Day three saw a tournament of two opposing halves for Japan: huge disappointment in the Men’s Singles event but overwhelming joy in the Women’s Singles as all five representatives made their way through to the last 16.
Yuka Ishigaki, Hitomi Sato, Saki Shibata, Maki Shiomi and Honoka Hashimoto all advanced after positive results against Daria Chernova (Russia), Wang Yi-Ju (Chinese Taipei), Lin Chia-Chih (Chinese Taipei), Yoon Hyobin (Korea Republic) and Olga Kulikova (Russia) respectively.
Arguably the standout fixture mentioned above was Shiomi’s battle with Yoon, as the 2016 Czech Open Women’s Singles runner-up from Japan took on the 2016 Czech Open Under 21 champion. While Yoon’s potential was apparent in the tie, it was Shiomi who played the better Table Tennis as the Japanese competitor pulled off a 4-1 win.
Title Hunt Continues for Belarus
Viktoria Pavlovich is still in with a chance of winning the Belarus Open for a second time, having picked up the trophy in 2008.
The host nation’s highest world ranked female player (55th) came up against Elizaveta Khlyzova (Russia) in the last 32 of 2016’s Open, in a fairly straightforward match for Pavlovich.
Despite two of the games going to deuce, Pavlovich always looked in control and sealed the victory without dropping an end (11-3, 12-10, 11-4, 15-13). Pavlovich reflected on the psychology behind her opening Singles battle:
“It’s always difficult for me to play home matches. Many of my friends are watching, so it gets tough psychologically. Nonetheless, I didn’t face any difficulties in the first match. I don’t want to anticipate anything and will just do my best” – Viktoria Pavlovich (Belarus).
One Belarusian makes the Round of 16 then, but sadly for another the journey in the category has ended: Alina Arlouskaya looked set to join Pavlovich in the next round, sitting 3-2 up against Anna Blazhko of Russia. Blazhko, however, made a mini comeback to steal the win in seven games.
Friday 9th September: Women’s Singles – Main Event