by Simon Daish
On the opening day of the Women’s Singles main draw Olga Kulikova registered a headline grabbing seven games win against the third seeded player Misaki Morizono of Japan, and the Russian athlete managed to produce another shock result in the morning session on Day Two against fellow compatriot Yulia Prokhorova in the last 16.
Prokhorova was faster out of the gates at the start of the tie and by the conclusion of game four it was the 14th seed who held a 1-3 lead, however, Kulikova continued to give it her all and her capture of the next three consecutive games completed a sensational 4-3 triumph for the unseeded player.
“The thought that I am the winner is still beyond my mind. It’s the first time that I play with Yulia at official competitions, and I had a hard time adapting to her style. Losing 1-3 in games, I finally found the right tactics. In the seventh game, with the scores being 9-9, I tried to ignore the points and just played, and I succeeded”, Olga Kulikova.
Next up for Olga Kulikova is a meeting with the defending Women’s Singles champion Saki Shibata of Japan.
Saki Shibata held off a strong challenge from Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc in a match that went right down to the wire (11-8, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7, 14-16, 11-7), as Japan dominated the Round of 16.
Seven out of the remaining eight players left in the event represent Japan, with Olga Kulikova of Russia being the only exception in the quarter-finals.
Top seed Hitomi Sato came through her tie against Marina Matsuzawa in six ends (11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9), and moves into the last eight alongside the likes of Maki Shiomi and Honoka Hashimoto.
Also progressing to the next round is Takako Nagao following her victory over Belarusian athlete Viktoria Pavlovich (9-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9), to end the host nation’s dreams of claiming the Women’s Singles title.
“Viktoria (Pavlovich) is a very strong player, I’ve never played against her before. I was a bit anxious prior to the game, but confidence came when I took to the table”, Takako Nagao.
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