by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The runners up on two occasions in one of the most celebrated tournaments of the year, the no.4 seeds in Doha, yet as a pairing they have never won an ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles title.
Against predictions Cheng I-Ching partnered colleague Lee I-Chen to success at the recent 2016 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open but this year in harness with Huang Yi-Hua has never reached the final. The best is a semi-final appearance in Germany and in Japan.
However, in Doha they are not alone. The greatest success this year for Germany’s Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.6 seeds is a semi-final exit, as it is for Japan’s Yui Hamamoto and Hina Hayata, the next names on the invitation list.
Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja departed in the penultimate round in Hungary, Yui Hamamoto and Hina Hayata in Poland.
Meanwhile, for Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, their best in 2016 was a quarter-final finish in on home soil in Budapest and in Hungary.
However, for the other pairs on duty in Qatar, it is very different. Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the top seeds, won in Germany, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria, whilst being the runners up in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and on home soil in Korea.
Four titles for the Koreans, for Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the no.2 seeds, it was three titles. They succeeded in Australia, Austria and Belarus.
A total of seven titles shared between the top two seeds, for Russia’s Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova, the no.3 seeds, alongside Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.5 seeds, it was one each.
In addition to being the runners up in Bulgaria, Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova won in the Czech Republic; Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching prevailed in Croatia.
Notably in the final each outfit beat Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun; revenge or an omen for Doha?