by Simon Daish
There is only one place to start with when taking a look back at the day’s action and that is Natalia Partyka’s stunning victory in the Women’s Singles Round of 32.
Poland’s Natalia Partyka is a five-times winner of Paralympic Games gold medals, but was handed a tough draw in Doha against the no.7 seed Wu Yang of China.
However, Natalia Partyka rose to the occasion as she held off a comeback attempt from Wu Yang in the final game to edge over the line in seven ends (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9).
“You never know against a defender, the longer the rally, the more they can establish a rhythm to their play and the more you become tired. I have to admit that as the match came to a conclusion I was becoming a little nervous but throughout the match I tried to play my game”, Natalia Partyka.
Defeat for one of China’s representatives in the Women’s Singles draw, but for the country’s remaining players there was success.
Chen Meng recovered from a trailing position to beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam across six games (6-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7), while the top seed Zhu Yuling overcame Jiang Huajun (11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 15-17, 11-3) to move into the next round.
There were also victories for two of China’s qualifiers as Gu Yuting and Wang Manyu pulled off shock victories over Japan’s Miu Hirano (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5) and Kasumi Ishikawa (11-4, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6).
The match between Li Jie and Hitomi Sato also deserves a brief mention, with a 766 shots rally lasting approximately 10 minutes and 13 seconds featuring in game three. Dutch contestant Li Jie eventually came through the tie in the decider (10-12, 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9).
Masaki Yoshida of Japan had already enjoyed two positive days in Doha at the Men’s Singles qualification tournament, where he not only managed to top his group but also went on to beat the reigning European Men’s Singles champion Emmanuel Lebesson in the Preliminary Round of 32.
Yet arguably Masaki Yoshida’s best performance came on Day One of the main competition in Doha, after the world no.72 defeated the ninth seed Jeoung Youngsik of Korea Republic (7-11, 17-15, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9) to advance to the last 16.
Vladimir Samsonov, who was the Men’s Singles champion at the Qatar Open in 2003 and 2015, made an opening round exit from the Men’s Singles category for the second ITTF World Tour competition in a row as the Belarusian player threw away a two games lead in Doha.
Disappointment in New Delhi following his defeat to Asuka Sakai at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour India Open, and now a six games loss (8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-9) to Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open has knocked Vladimir Samsonov out as his Swedish rival Mattias Karlsson moves through to the next stage.
“… I lost the first two games, in the second game I was 10-4 ahead, I came back to 10-10 and then lost. After that I played better and my play improved as the match progressed”, Mattias Karlsson.
Another standout result featuring Mattias Karlsson came in the Men’s Doubles event, after he paired up with Kristian Karlsson to shockingly eliminate China’s Ma Long and Zhang Jike in the Round of 16 (5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-3).
Keeping up the theme of the day there were also unexpected outcomes in the Women’s Doubles draw, with a notable performance coming from Austria’s Sofia Polcanova and Amelie Solja who condemned the no.6 seeds from Poland Katarzyna Grzybowska and Natalia Partyka to an opening match defeat (11-13, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3). Next up for the Austrian duo is a fixture with China’s Chen Meng and Wang Manyu in the quarter-finals.