by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressive in Minsk; in the Women’s Singles in Bangkok, they are not the only players who have caught the eye this year on the international scene.
The top seed is Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, one place ahead of Hitomi Sato with Honoka Hashimoto being the fourth in the order of merit.
Seemingly tournament by tournament Doo Hoi Kem becomes more reliable, more secure and more able to deal with moments of crisis. Notably in February she won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2017 Qatar Open.
However, if there is one player on duty in the Thai capital who has made a habit this year of appearing on the medal podium, it is Maki Shiomi, like Hitomo Sato and Honoka Hashimoto from Japan but unlike her colleagues, an attacking player, not a defender.
In Bangkok, she is the no.7 seed in the Women’s Singles competition. Currently, she leads the ITTF World Junior Circuit Standings; three tournaments, the record reads three Junior Girls’ Singles finals. She won the Czech Republic and Sweden, in France she was the runner up.
A strong challenge from Japan and there is one more name of note to add their list of competitors; Saki Shibata, who won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title at last year’s ITTF World Tour Asarel Open, is the no.7 seed.
Notable names from Japan; similarly there are prominent personalities from Singapore; Zeng Jian is third highest name in the pecking order. Zhou Yihan is the fifth on the list.
Both have ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles titles to their name; the next step is a Challenge Women’s Singles crown.
Seeking to make a mark to climb to new heights; it is the same for Suthasini Sawettabut, who reached the Women’s Singles quarter-finals on the ITTF World Tour in Bulgaria in 2015 and last year in Austria.
She leads the host nation’s challenge; she is the no.6 seed in the Women’s Singles event.