by Simon Daish
Heading into day one of the 2016 Austrian Open, Yana Noskova was the expected player to take top spot in group five having been announced as the highest seed in the group, however, it was the lowest seeded player Liu Qi who actually achieved that feat instead.
Liu began the group recovering from a game down to defeat Belgium’s Lisa Lung (104th) in five games, before the Hong Kong player put in an inspired performance to overcome the number 36 seed Yana Noskova (RUS) without dropping a single game (13-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9).
The victory for Liu Qi wasn’t the only piece of success for Hong Kong in the qualifying groups as three more of the country’s representatives also ended the day in a strong position to progress to the next stage; Soo Wai Yam Minnie, Ng Wing Nam, and Mak Tze Wing are yet to suffer defeats at the 2016 Open and will fancy their chances of reaching the main draw.
Charlotte Carey (112th) also deserves a big mention for her terrific showing in her qualifying group, after she claimed first position in a group containing Petra Petek (106th) and Barbora Balazova (34th).
Petek (CRO) was the first opponent to be surprised by Carey in group 3 with the Welsh competitor winning the tie 4-2, and in the evening session Carey raised her game to another level as she edged out Balazova in the deciding seventh end (7-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8) to move into first place.
North American Table Tennis fans had three players to follow in the Women’s Singles qualifying groups, and while one contestant has fallen there is still a distinct possibility that the other two representatives could still advance beyond their respective groups.
Canada’s Zhang Mo started her Austrian Open journey with a solid fifth end win against Ida Jazbec (CRO), and a victory over Eline Loyen (BEL) on day two will be enough to qualify for the main draw. The other triumphant North American was Jiaqi Zheng (USA) who saw off Dragana Vignjevic (SRB) in group 21, but there was an early exit for Alicia Cote (CAN) as she suffered group 27 losses to Valentina Sabitova (RUS) and Stephanie Loeuillette (FRA).
Wednesday 9th November: Women’s Singles – Qualification Group Stages