by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In Hodonin, Maki Shiomi emerged as the winner, beating Miyu Nagasaki in the final as matters advanced according to seeding; however, for both Kana Takeuchi and Yuko Kato there were earlier than anticipated departure.
Both fell at the quarter-final stage; Kana Takeuchi was beaten by Serbia’s Dragana Vignjevic, Yuko Kato experienced defeat at the hands of Russia’s Ekaterina Zironova.
Neither Dragana Vignjevic nor Ekaterina Zironova appears on the Metz entry list but one player who caused the Japanese visitors problems in the Czech Republic is present. The host nation’s Nolwenn Fort was the player to cause Maki Shiomi the greatest problems en route to title; in the round of the last eight, she extended the champion elect the full seven games distance.
A strong entry from Japan and in Metz; there are reinforcements, the names of Miyuu Kato and Satsudi Odo both appear on the entry list.
Notably both are only 11 years old! Furthermore, the presence of Miyuu Kato means that Japan not only has the top four rated players on Junior Girls’ Singles duty, it has the top five!
On the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit each made just one appearance; they competed in Italy. Satsudi Odo was beaten in the second round of the Junior Girls’ Singles event in seven games by Germany’s Caroline Hajok; Miyuu Kihara advanced to the final where she was beaten by a colleague, a certain Maki Shiomi.
Favourites for gold but nothing is ever certain in sport and there are most worthy challengers to Japanese excellence.
Azerbaijan’s Ning Jing, Hong Kong’s Wong Chin Yau and Belgium’s Lisa Lung complete the top eight names.
Wong Chin Yau has yet to excel of the ITTF World Junior Circuit but already this year Ning Jing and Lisa Lung have impressed.
At just concluded DHS 2017 Lausanne Open, Ning Jing reached the Women’s Singles quarter-finals; one week earlier at the European Under 21 Championships in Antibes, Lisa Lung was a Women’s Singles quarter-finalist.