by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively Men Shuohan, listed at no.159 on the current Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, overcame the defensive skills of Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus, listed at no.85 (8-11, 11-1, 15-13, 11-8).
A fine effort from Men Shuohan, it was the same from Maria Yovkova but against Russia’s Daria Chernova, life was more exacting. The 17 year old emerged successful in five games (10-12, 11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 11-5). Presently, owing to an absence from the international stage, Daria Chernova has no World ranking but earlier this year in March was named at no.71 on the Under 21 Women’s list; Maria Yovkova is named at no.138.
Hard fought success; it was exactly the same for Andreea Clapa; listed at no.122 in the current order of merit, she recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat and the brink of defeat to beat the host nation’s Dorina Srebrnjak, named at no.79 (8-11, 5-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7) and thus secure a main draw place.
Meanwhile, for Nadezhda Bogdanova, there were testing times but not as dramatic as those endured by Andreea Clapa. Named at no.113 on the Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, she overcame Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz, listed at no.84, in four games (7-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8).
Surprise outcomes but for the highest rated player in the Under 21 Women’s Singles qualification tournament, there were no travails; standing at no.47 in the pecking order, Germany’s Wan Yuan beat Bulgaria’s Krasimira Yovkova (11-5, 11-9, 11-5) to conclude her initial phase matches unbeaten.
Players finishing in first places in each of the 16 groups join the 16 seeds in the main draw.