by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Successfully through the qualification stage of proceedings, Maria Xiao had beaten Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.23 seed (1-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7); Sara Ramirez had accounted for the Czech Republic’s Renata Strbikova, the no.28 seed (4-11, 11-9, 7-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-2, 12-10).
Not to be upstaged, Galia Dvorak followed suit; in fact she upstaged her colleagues by causing the biggest upset of the round and emerging successful in the most convincing manner.
Impressively, she overcame Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc, the no.21 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8).
“Last time, three years ago I lost to Katarzyna in the very close match; here it was straight games victory for me. I am sure she was not on the top of her game today”, Galia Dvorak
Victory against the odds but it was to prove the only one of two unexpected results as matters advanced in the lower half of the draw in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event.
The one other qualifier to succeed was Romania’s Irina Ciobanu, she overcame Austria’s Amelie Solja, the no.32 seed, in six games (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9).
Two surprises; however, for the leading names there was success but not without moments of consternation.
Irina Ciobanu’s colleague, Elizabeta Samara, the no.7 seed, the defending champion in addition to Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.8 seed, required the full seven games to ensure success. Elizabeta Samara emerged from the precipice of defeat in the fifth and sixth games to beat Serbia’s Aneta Maksuti (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 3-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-2), whilst Georgina Pota lost the first three games against England’s Tin-Tin Ho, before emerging successful (5-11, 4-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5).
“I always have difficulties in the opening matches. I could have finished earlier, I lost the third games after I had 10-8. Thanks to spectators, they gave me extra strength to come back in the match”, Georgina Pota
Close calls, for Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.2 seed and for Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.4 seed and winner in 2005 in Aarhus, life was less dramatic. Liu Jia overcame Daria Trigolos of Belarus (11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-3); Petrissa Solja defeated Oceane Guisnel of France (11-5, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).
“Daria is still very young, but already has a good feeling for the game. I am sure she will improve her rankings very soon”, Liu Jia.
An impressive first round win from one former champion, it was the same from two more who gained the ultimate accolade.
Luxembourg’s evergreen Ni Xialian, the no.20 seed, who won in 1998 in Eindhoven and in 2002 in Zagreb, accounted for the host nation’s Dora Madarasz (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9); Sweden’s Li Fen, the no.10 seed and champion in 2013 in Schwechat, defeated Croatia’s Mateja Jeger (11-8, 11-4, 11-2, 11-8).
The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be held on Friday 21st October.