by Simon Daish
The German representatives Shan Xiaona and Han Ying both managed to negotiate their Round of 32 ties to book their spots in day five’s action in the category.
Han Ying put in a fine performance in her encounter with Swedish contestant Matilda Ekholm which ended in a 4-0 victory for the German player (11-6, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6), however, the task for Shan Xiaona proved to be a slightly more difficult challenge with her match going right down to the final game.
Shan’s opponent for the round was Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut who entered the competition as the No.29 seed, sitting 22 places below Shan on the tournament seeding list but the difference in ranking was hardly apparent in the fixture as Sawettabut gave a good account of herself.
Throughout the match there were twists and turns with the momentum constantly shifting from one player to the other; Shan made the brighter start to the encounter and the German contestant took a 2-1 lead, but just when it looked as though Shan would claim the match Sawettabut pulled back-to-back game wins in her favour to go 2-3 ahead and subsequently move to within a game from progressing to the next stage.
Trailing on the scoreboard heading into the sixth end Shan needed to rely on her fighting spirit and the seventh seed put in a fantastic effort to mount a comeback, claiming two games in a row to take the win (7-11, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9).
Speaking of comebacks, the top seed for the Women’s Singles category Kasumi Ishikawa was forced to make a recovery of her own after she fell 1-3 behind in her encounter with fellow Japanese player Honoka Hashimoto.
Yet despite Hashimoto holding a commanding games advantage in the duel, the 18-year-old couldn’t quite finish the No.1 seed off as Ishikawa conjured up a brillient showing from game five onward to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7).
Elsewhere there was success for the third seed Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei who overcame Germany’s Nina Mittelham in four ends (11-6, 11-5, 11-8, 11-2), and the No.6 seed Zeng Jian of Singapore also secured her place in the Round of 16 with her triumph against Korea Republic’s Choi Hyojoo (8-11, 12-10, 14-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6).
However there will be no place in the last 16 for Japan’s Mima Ito, who was seeded second for the event, following her shock exit to the player ranked 82nd in the world Kyoka Kato (11-8, 12-10, 3-11, 11-4, 4-11, 12-10).
Friday 18th November: Women’s Singles – Main Draw