by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In her opening Women’s Singles contest, Doo Hoi Kem faces the host nation’s Mousumi Paul; Lee Ho Ching confronts the winner of the duel between colleague Mak Tze Wing and Moumita Dutta, like Mousumi Paul from India.
Meanwhile, Matilda Ekholm confronts Chinese Taipei’s Lin Po-Hsuan but I venture to suggest that the most intriguing contest of all is that which involves Georgina Pota in opposition to Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam.
Two days earlier, Minnie Soo Wai Yam was the runner up in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, beaten by the very narrowest of margins by Japan’s Sakura Mori (4-11, 13-11, 6-11, 11-5, 12-10). Equally on her most recent visit to India, in Indore she won the Girls’ Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals.
It appears that Minnie Soo Wai Yam is in form; furthermore, she has three days of matches in her locker, for Georgina Pota, it is her first and that can be the hardest.
Similarly, in the Men’s Singles event, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the top seed, makes his first appearance; he confronts Saudia Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad. Likewise colleague Steffen Mengel, the no.13 seed, alongside the Japanese duo of Yuya Oshima, the no.5 seed and Masataka Morizono, the no.9 seed, start their bid for honours.
Eyes will very much focus on Masataka Morizono, he confronts India’s Stathiyan Gnanasekaran in a bid for a second round place; a feat already achieved by four colleagues
Asuka Sakai, the shock first round winner against Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.2 seed, faces compatriot Tomokazu Harimoto; for Koki Niwa and Yuto Muramatsu host nation adversaries await.
Koki Niwa, the no.3 seed, confronts Harmeet Desai, Yuto Muramatsu, the no.4 seed, opposes Sharath Kamal Achanta, the no.11 seed; tough second round adversaries for host nation players. It is the same for the one further Indian who has progressed to round two; Sanil Shetty confronts Austria’s Robert Gardos, the no.8 seed.
Play is scheduled to start at 11.00am (local time); New Delhi is five hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.