by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, there were surprise names in pole position at the end of the day as players strove for a place in the knock-out section; first and second positions reserved a main draw berth.
The players to cause the surprises were England’s Tin-Tin Ho, Spain’s Zhang Xuan and the Czech Republic’s Zdena Blaskova.
Tin-Tin Ho was very much the player to cause the biggest upset. After accounting for Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn (11-4, 11-5, 12-10, 11-5), she beat Germany’s Nina Mittelham, the no.2 seed (11-3, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7), prior to overcoming the Slovak Republic’s Tatiana Kukulkova (11-4, 11-3, 11-3, 11-3).
Following the defeat at the hands of Tin-Tin Ho, Nina Mittelham, suffering from an injury withdrew from proceedings.
Three matches played, three wins; it was the same for Zdena Blaskova. She accounted for Israel’s Nicole Trosman (13-11, 9-11, 5-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7), prior to causing an upset of note by overcoming Daria Trigolos of Belarus, the no.5 seed (11-7, 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9).
Two comprehensive victories, the third was much closer; she needed the full seven games to beat Belgium’s Lisa Lung (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 3-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-7).
A close defeat for Lisa Lung but she did secure second place and progress to the main draw. In equally close contests, she defeated Daria Trigolos (7-11, 13-11, 4-11, 3-11, 11-1, 11-8, 11-9); prior to beating Nicole Trosman in an equally dramatic contest (11-3, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9, 14-12).
Meanwhile, for Zhang Xuan, the situation was somewhat different; she finished her group with two wins, the same as Germany’s Chantal Mantz, the no.3 seed and Croatia’s Dorina Srebrnjak.
In the opening match in the group, Dorina Srebrnjak beat Chantal Mantz in seven games (9-11, 3-11, 13-11, 11-2, 15-13, 5-11, 11-9), before in the concluding contest experiencing defeat in five games at the hands of Zhang Xuan (7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7). Success for Zhang Xuan but in her previous contest, she had been beaten by Chantal Mantz in six games (11-5, 11-3, 3-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8).
Thus it was first place for Zhang Xuan (6:5) followed by Chantal Mantz (7:6) and Dorina Srebrnjak (5:7)
Play in the third stage, the knock-out section, commences on Saturday 4th February.
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