by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
No current World ranking, the outfit comprising Ayano I, Kasumi Kimura, Mitsuho Kimura and Asuka Sasao, not only emerged in first place in their group; they realised the accomplishment without the loss of a single individual match, they beat the top seeds and severely dented the ambitions of the host nation.
In their opening fixture with Ayano I resigned to the bench, they overcame the Thai trio of Cathareeya Poungsri, Monapsorn Saritapirak and Jinnipa Sawettabut, the top seeds; before, with Ayano I replacing Asuka Sasao, they handed out the same punishment to the Indian outfit comprising Priyanka Pareek, Manushree Patel and Kushi Vishwanath.
The one consolation for the host nation was that in their second engagement of the day, Cathareeya Poungsri, Monapsorn Saritapirak and Jinnipa Sawettabut recovered to post a three-nil win over Priyanka Pareek, Manushree Patel and Kushi Vishwanath.
Teams finishing in first and second places in each of the three groups advance to the main draw.
Defeat for the top seeds but no such problems for the Chinese Taipei trio of Chien Tung-Chuan, Liang Jung-Jing and Wen Ruei-Ling. They topped their group without the loss of a single individual match; the combination of Singapore’s Eunice Lim alongside Malaysia’s Alice Chang Li and Tee Ai Xin finished in second spot.
Comparatively comfortable for Chinese Taipei; for the Hong Kong threesome of Fung Wai Chu, Wang Liyong and Wong Chin Yau, the no.3 seeds, they were given a severe test in their concluding group stage fixture by the Thailand ‘B’ formation of Kanowan Atimuttikul, Naja Megamporn and Thanatporn Lawsirirattana.
A three matches to two win was the end result; the victory thanks principally to the efforts of Wong Chin Yau. She beat both Thanatporn Lawsirirattana (11-7, 11-4, 11-1) and Kanowan Atimuttikul (11-4, 11-7, 11-7), the one further win for Hong Kong being secured in the vital deciding match of the fixture when Fung Wai Chu overcame Thanatporn Lawsirirattana (14-12, 11-8, 13-11). Thailand ‘B’ duly finished the group in second place.
At the semi-final stage, Japan faces the winner of the quarter-final duel between Thailand ‘B’ and the combination of Eunice Lim, Alice Chang Li and Tee Ai Xin; Chinese Taipei meets the winners of the contest between Hong Kong and Thailand ‘A’.
The Junior Girls’ Team event concludes on Thursday 11th May.