by Simon Daish
Bernadett Balint and Mercedes Nagyvaradi headed into the Round of 16 off the back of two qualifying match victories, while their opponents in the main draw Ekaterina Guseva and Yulia Prokhorova were taking part in their first Women’s Doubles tie of the event and the Hungarian duo took full advantage of the extra time they had spent together on the table at the Open by causing one of the big upsets of the morning.
All five of the games played out were closely contested by both partnerships but, despite Guseva and Prokhorova having led 1-2, by the conclusion of game three the victory would eventually fall into the hands of their Hungarian rivals.
Balint and Nagyvaradi not only managed to claim the fourth game in deuce to level the tie, but also went on to take the fifth end by a two point margin to seal their spot in the quarter-finals (10-12, 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9).
“We have never reached the quarter-finals in our lives, it feels amazing. We prepared well and fought hard all the way through the match and it paid off”, was the reaction of the Hungarian partnership.
Another four of the Women’s Doubles Round of 16 encounters ended up requiring all five games, and for the third seeds representing Singapore Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan a disappointing fate awaited.
China’s Chen Xingtong and Li Jiayi made a strong start to the Women’s Doubles match against the third seeds after they claimed the opening two games to establish a commanding lead, but Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan managed to claw their way back into the tie with the capture of two consecutive games of their own to force a deciding fifth game.
However, the comeback attempt from the Singapore duo was in vain as the third seeds surrendered a match point at 9-10 in game five before Chen Xingtong and Li Jiayi went on to steal the game 16-14 to knock Lin Ye and Zhou Yihan out of the competition (15-13, 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 16-14).
“It was a great challenge in the first round of the main draw as we know each other really well so it was a hard fought match tactically as well as mentally. We are looking forward to the next round”, Chen Xingtong.
Seventh seeds Irina Ciobanu and Camelia Iacob came close to facing an opening round upset, as the Romanian partnership were forced to fight back from two games down before going on to beat Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Maria Xiao (11-13, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11). Irina Ciobanu and Camelia Iacob will take on Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota in the last eight, having overcome Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Daria Trigolos of Belarus in straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-4).