30 Apr 2017

Hitomi Sato succeeded, as did her Japanese colleague, Honoka Hashimoto and Hungary’s Georgina Pota but they were the only three players not to experience surprise defeats in the third round of the Women’s Singles event at the 2016 ITTF Challenge Slovenia Open in Otocec on the late morning of Saturday 29th April.

Impressively, Hitomi Sato, the top seed, set the example. She used her defensive skills to good effect to end the progress of French qualifier, Laura Gasnier (11-5, 11-1, 11-7, 11-3).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Later in the opposite half of the draw, in the same mode, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.5 beat Russia’s Anna Tikhomirova, the no.17 seed (8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8). Likewise, Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.4 seed, overcame Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9).

However, in the remaining five contests it was defeat for the favourites; not only in terms of seeding but when considering the fact that on previous meetings they had emerged successful against their conquerors.

The major casualties were Sweden’s Matilda Elkholm, the no.2 seed and Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.4 seed.

Matilda Ekholm was beaten by Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.12 seed and the player she had beaten at the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Championships in Tokyo (11-8, 11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-1); Elizabeta Samara experienced defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tu (11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 13-11, 11-3). Four years ago at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Polish Open, the Romanian had emerged successful.

Likewise, Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.11 seed, turned the tables against Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.8 seed. Beaten by Suthasini Sawettabut at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Czech Open; Britt Eerland, after winning the first three games, withstood a brave recovery by Suthasini Sawettabut to emerge successful (11-9, 17-15, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11, 7-11, 11-7).

“I have lost against her before, always very close. I knew it will be a long match that will require hard work; when leading three-nil I somehow lost my feeling and started making easy mistakes. It made me feel unsecure but at three-three I pushed myself and became confident again! It took me a while to adapt to the ball but I am slowly finding a rhythm match by match.” Britt Eerland

Delight for Canada, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands but the country with the greatest reason for celebration was Korea; qualifiers Lee Eunhye and Park Joohyun excelled expectations.

Park Joohyun overcame Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the no.6 seed (11-9, 9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 6-11, 11-3); Lee Eunhye beat Japan’s Saki Shibata, the no.9 seed (9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4).

It was for both Koreans the first time they had overcome their Otocec opponents;  Park Joohyun had lost to Polina Mikhailova on the ITTF World Tour in 2014 in Kuwait, last year in Austria Lee Eunhye had been beaten by Saki Shibata.

At the quarter-final stage Hitomi Sato meets Lee Eunhye, Britt Eerland opposes Cheng Hsien-Tzu; in the opposite half of the draw Georgina Pota faces Park Joohyun. Honoko Hashimoto confronts Zhang Mo.

The matches will be played later today commencing at 6.10pm (local time).

Challenge Series 2017 Slovenian Open Zhang Mo Britt Eerland Lee Eunhye Park Joohyun Cheng Hsien-Tu

No results found.