by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
One ventures to suggest that if she can maintain the form shown in Wuxi, even though she is the no.5 seed in Incheon, she starts as the favourite for gold.
It is a chance to shine once again or could it be that one of her colleagues captures the limelight? Kasumi Ishikawa, with a total of six ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles to her credit, not present in Wuxi, is the second highest rated player on duty.
Kasumi Ishikawa is one of seven Japanese players, who appear in the list direct entries to the main event. In addition to Kasumi Ishikawa and Miu Hirano; Mima Ito, Hitomi Sato, Hina Hayata, Misaki Morizono and Sakura Mori are all on duty.
Mima Ito is the no.4 seed in the Women’s Singles event one place behind Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching with Singapore’s Feng Tianwei being the top seed and of all the players competing, the most successful on the ITTF World Tour.
Impressively, she has eight ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles to her credit, two ahead of Kasumi Ishikawa.
Hitomi Sato who won the Women’s Singles title in Croatia last year, notably beating Miu Hirano in the final, is the no.10 seed; Hina Hayata is the no.12 seed, two places ahead of Misaki Morizono with Sakura Mori completing the top 16 names.
Meanwhile, for the host nation, Jeon Jihee, the no.2 seed, alongside Suh Hyowon and Yang Haeun lead the Korean challenge. Suh Hyowon is the no.11 seed, Yang Haeun is the no.15 seed.
A major challenge from Japan; there is also a worthy challenge from Germany; Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja complete the top eight names.
Notably in the Women’s Doubles event Hina Hayata once again partners, Mima Ito, the pair being bronze medallists at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships, whilst Miu Hirano teams with Kasumi Ishikawa for the first time on the ITTF World Tour.
Hina Hayata and Mima Ito occupy the no.3 seeded position; Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa are the no.8 seeds.
Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun occupy to top seeded spot with Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng I-Ching being next in the order of merit.