By Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor and Neha Aggarwal
The no.8 seed, after accounting for Portugal’s Raquel Andrade, the no.15 seed in her opening contest (15-13, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8); she caused a major upset by overcoming Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing, the no.2 seed, and silver medallist some six weeks ago at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town.
“I really enjoyed playing against Mak Tze Wing. It feels so good to beat the world championship silver medalist. I was enjoying today so much that I didn’t know what was going around. I put all my focus and energies in the game today. Everything came so naturally!”- Archana Girish Kamath
Impressively Archana Girish Kamath won in six games (10-12, 12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5) to end the day unbeaten. Defeat for Mak Tze Wing but the door to the main draw is not closed; in her opening group phase contest, she accounted for Amy Wang of the United States, the no.9 seed (11-8, 13-11, 11-4, 11-5).
Two players from each of the four groups advance to the quarter-finals. In the remaining contests to determine the final outcome, Amy Wang who beat Raquel Andrade the no.15 seed (13-15, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9, 11-9), faces Archana Girish Kamath; Mak Tze Wing confronts Raquel Andrade.
One upset amongst the leading names but not in the other three groups in the Girls’ Singles event. Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the top seed and also from Hong Kong, remained unbeaten, as did the next two names in the order of merit, Japan’s Kana Takeuchi and Romania’s Andreea Dragoman.
However, for Kana Takeuchi there were some nervous moments; she needed the full seven games to beat Andreea Dragoman’s colleague, Andreea Clapa, the no.11 seed (15-13, 6-11, 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4).
A close call but it was even closer for Kana Takeuchi’s colleague, Yuko Kato, the no.5 seed, the player who had ended the year in top spot on the Standings.
She overcame Australia’s Wu Jiamura by the very narrowest of margins (8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 12-10), a win that could prove vital in her quest for a quarter-final place. In her very next match, she was beaten by Andreea Dragoman (9-11, 11-5, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9).
Play in the initial group stage concludes in the morning session on Friday 27th January. Knock out stage will begin with the quarter finals to be played in the afternoon session.