by Simon Daish
Romania’s Bernadette Szocs and Yang Haeun of Korea Republic had met at world ranking events on four occasions prior to their encounter in Stockholm, with Yang holding the better head-to-head record.
Another statistic in Yang’s favour was her advantage in the world rankings table (November 2016), with the Korean player placed at No.28 while Szocs went into the tie as the so-called underdog sitting at No.74.
However, while the odds may not have been pointing toward a Szocs triumph it was indeed the Romanian contestant who would go on to move into the next round; with the game scores level at 1-1 by the conclusion of the second end both rivals were still in with a chance of taking the win, but two consecutive game victories in deuce followed by the capture of game five gave Szocs all that she required to qualify for the last 32 (11-4, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Zheng Jiaqi will participate in the Round of 32 of the 2016 Swedish Open after the USA representative pulled off a shock results against home player Li Fen.
This was the first meeting between Zheng and Li at a world rankings competition and the USA competitor, who was ranked 118th in October, made sure of her spot in the next stage of the Open by eliminating the No.19 seed.
Zheng made a positive start to the match and before too long she managed to establish a 3-0 lead over her opponent. Some of the home fans’ hopes were restored as Li put a game win of her own on the scoreboard, however, it was not to be for Li as Zheng edged the fifth game to progress beyond the last 64 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 14-12).
Two more eye catching victories came from Britt Eerland and Nina Mittelham who both enjoyed successful outcomes in their matches; Dutch contestant Eerland narrowly squeezed by the 2016 Belarus Open Women’s Singles champion Saki Shibata (11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7) while Germany’s Mittelham saw off Japan’s Marina Matsuzawa in seven ends (7-11, 11-13, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9) and following her win Mittelham spoke about having to fight back from behind to take the glory:
“She had big problems with my heavy topspin and I tried to use that as much as possible. When I was behind in the deciding set I just tried to stay focused and fight hard for the win and I managed to do that which was very nice. I’m very satisfied with the win even if I wasn’t on top” – Nina Mittelham (Germany).
Friday 18th November: Women’s Singles – Main Draw