by Simon Daish
16-year-old Mima Ito was one of 12 players from Japan to advance beyond the opening round of the Women’s Singles main draw, with seven of the country’s representatives progressing from the bottom half of the draw.
Lin Chia-Chih was Ito’s first opponent in the category, but the Chinese Taipei competitor had already taken part in three qualifying group stage encounters prior to day four of the event and so despite Lin having participated in more matches than Ito at the tournament it was the Japanese player who looked the sharper of the two.
The start of the last 64 tie was actually a closely fought contest with both players picking up alternating game wins to leave the match score level at one game apiece, however, from that point onward Ito began to gather more and more momentum and a confident display from the three-time World Tour Women’s Singles gold medallist soon saw Ito over the finishing line without suffering too many qualms (11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-7).
Miyu Kato was another player from Japan to claim a 4-1 victory against a Chinese Taipei contestant with her success against Lee I-Chen (11-4, 14-12, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9), while the Women’s Singles silver medallist from the 2016 Austrian Open Yui Hamamoto didn’t have to overcome too many problems in her straight games win over Belarusian contestant Alina Arlouskaya (11-5, 11-6, 12-10, 11-4).
Yet there will be no place in the Round of 32 for 18th seed Mizuki Morizono, after she lost out to the No.20 seed Matilda Ekholm of Sweden (11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 3-11) in a wonderful seven game encounter.
The second seed Han Ying, who represents Germany, is safely through to the next round following her 4-0 triumph over the host nation’s Linda Bergström (11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-2) in a match which saw the German competitor improve her play with each passing game.
Hungary’s Georgina Pota also secured her passage to the last 32 with a strong showing against Wang Yi-Ju of Chinese Taipei (11-8, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11) while the 2016 European Women’s Singles title holder Hu Melek of Turkey recovered from a game down to defeat French player Marie Migot (8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9).
Friday 18th November: Women’s Singles – Main Draw