by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Required to compete in the two day qualification tournament, Park Joohyun who had beaten Japan’s Hitomi Sato, the top seed, in round one (11-9, 11-1, 11-7, 11-6) repeated her success of the previous week against Chantal Mantz, the no.29 seed.
In Slovenia, she had emerged successful in five games in their opening round contest (11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4), in Zagreb it was just the same (11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9).
Success for Park Joohyun, it was the same for Tamolwan Khethkuan. The no.30 seed, she accounted for Nina Mittelham, the no.23 seed, in four straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7); the win much more convincing than when they met seven years ago in the second round of the Cadet Girls’ Singles event at the 2010 Spanish Junior and Cadet Open, their one previous international engagement. On that occasion Tamolwan Khetkhuan had needed the full five games (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 11-13, 11-4) to ensure victory.
Wins contrary to seeding for Park Joohyun and Tamolwan Khetkhuan; in the remaining third round Women’s Singles encounters status prevailed with Thailand enjoying more success and a guaranteed semi-final place.
Tamolwan Khetkhuan now meets colleague, Suthasini Sawettabut in the quarter-finals; impressively, Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.8 seed, accounted for Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.12 seed (5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 12-10, 12-10) to reserve her place in the last four.
Meanwhile, in the same half of the draw, Park Joohyun confronts Sofia Polcanova, the no.6 seed and third round winner over Japanese qualifier Miyuu Kihara (7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6).
Defeat for Japan, not in the opposite half of the draw; both Honoka Hashimoto and Saki Shibata emerged successful. However, it was only progress after some exacting times. Honoka Hashimoto, the no.2 seed, beat Norway’s Ma Wenting, the no.27 seed by the very narrowest of margins (11-5, 6-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9); similarly, Saki Shibata, the no.7 seed, needed the full seven games to overcame Chinese Taipei’s Lee I-Chen, the 16 seed (12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11, 11-6).
At the semi-final stage, Saki Shibata meets Sweden’s Li Fen, the no.4 seed; Honoka Hashimoto confronts Liu Hsing-Yin, like Lee I-Chen from Chinese Taipei and the no.22 seed.
In the third round, Li Fen beat Russia’s Yana Noskova, the no.14 seed in seven games (9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4); Liu Hsing-Yin ended the hopes of Hungarian qualifier Mercedes Nagyvaradi in an even more dramatic duel (11-4, 4-11, 10-12, 11-1, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10).
The quarter-final matches in the Women’s Singles event will be played later in the day.