04 May 2017

Women’s Singles winner this year at all three Challenge Series tournaments in which she has appeared, being present in Belarus, Thailand and Slovenia; there will not be a fourth consecutive title for Japan’s Hitomi Sato.

The top seed, she was beaten in the opening round at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Zagreb Open on the late morning of Thursday 4th May; she experienced a four straight games defeat at the hands of Korea qualifier Park Joohyun (11-9, 11-1, 11-7, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A shock result; most certainly that is the conclusion according to World Ranking; presently Hitomo Sato is listed at no.10; Park Joohyun at no.141.

However, against the defensive art, Park Joohyun is most competent and if status pointed towards a win for Hitomi Sato, past results indicated success for the 23 year old Korean. They had met on once prior to the duel in Zagreb; they confronted each other in the qualification stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event on the ITTF World Tour in 2014 in Qatar. On that occasion Park Joohyun won in three straight games (11-8, 11-4, 11-4).

Success for Park Joohyun and there was more success against the odds for Korea; likewise qualifiers, Lee Yujin beat Austria’s Amelie Solja, the no.21 seed (11-13, 11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 7-11, 11-6), whilst at same time Ji Eunchae accounted for Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.18 seed (11-4, 8-11, 16-14, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11).

Three upsets as matters commenced in the top half of the Women’s Singles draw and there were two more, with Japan gaining some consolation for the loss experienced by Hitomi Sato.

Miyuu Kihara accounted for the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.11 seed (11-2, 9-11, 7-11, 12-10, 15-17, 11-5, 11-7), whilst in the one remaining upset, Russia’s Elena Troshneva overcame Romania’s Camelia Iacob, the no.24 seed (11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9).

Notable upsets but other than for Hitomi Sato, it was opening round success for the principal names as matters progressed in the early stages of the Women’s Singles event.

Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.3 seed, beat Poland’s Natalia Bajor (8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10); Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.6 seed, accounted for Russia’s Anna Blazkho (11-2, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7), whilst Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.8 seed ended the hopes of Daria Trigolos of Belarus, the no.8 seed (12-10, 11-9, 14-16, 11-2, 11-4).

The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played later in the day.

Challenge Series 2017 Zagreb (Croatia) Open Hitomi Sato Park Joohyun