by Simon Daish
One of the big shocks of the day came in the Women’s Singles qualifying group stage, as Puerto Rico’s Melanie Díaz suffered an unexpected defeat in her opening match.
Regina Kim was the player who took the headlines, as the player from Uzbekistan claimed back-to-back victories to finish top of her qualifying group.
First up Regina Kim emerged successful in a tight seven games duel with Argentina’s Camila Kaizoji (6-11, 11-2, 12-14, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6) before the Uzbekistan representative, who entered the World Championships without holding a current world ranking, put in a highly impressive display to see off Melanie Diaz in straight games (11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9).
There was another upset involving an Uzbekistan competitor: but this time it was disappointment for the country as Olga Kim lost out to Estonia’s Valeria Petrova (7-11, 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 3-11), with the latter player finishing top of the qualifying group.
China is one of the most powerful forces in the sport, and as expected, the country’s one representative in the Women’s Singles qualifying group stage Mu Zi delivered two strong performances.
Mu Zi opened her World Championships account with a convincing win against Portuguese opponent Rita Fins (11-1, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3) before sealing top spot in the group with the defeat of Uruguay’s Maria Lorenzotti (11-3, 11-1, 11-4, 11-4).
Australian representatives for the Men’s Singles competition enjoyed a positive opening day in Düsseldorf, after all three of the country’s competitors ended the day without a defeat to their names.
David Powell made a strong start with a six games triumph over Jann Mari Nayre of the Philippines (11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8) before the Australian contestant made it back-to-back successes with a victory against Malta’s Edward Baldacchino (11-4, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6).
Another Australian who is leading a qualifying group is Kane Townsend, who pulled off an amazing recovery to defeat Macau’s Cheong Chi Chang in the deciding game (5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-3, 11-8). The third player representing Australia, Heming Hu was awarded a walkover victory against Jose De Leon.
Similarly, there was plenty to cheer about for Egypt in the Men’s Singles competition, with the country’s contestants all registering perfect results.
Ahmed Saleh came through his opening encounter against Finland’s Alex Naumi without dropping a game (11-2, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8), while El-Sayed Lashin and Mohamed El-Beiali also enjoyed straight games victories in their respective ties against Welsh opponents Daniel O’Connell (11-1, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9) and Callum Evans (11-5, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6).
There are a good number of Latin American stars who have made promising starts to the qualifying group stage, with Cuba’s Andy Pereira, Paraguay’s Alejandro Toranzos and Chile’s Felipe Olivares all remaining unbeaten after day one action.
The Mixed Doubles qualification battle concluded on day one in Düsseldorf, after three rounds of preliminary qualifying stages were played out.
Six matches required the full five game distance in the final preliminary qualifying round as spectators were treated to a tense fight.
Turkish partners Ibrahim Gunduz and Ozge Yilmaz recovered from a difficult position to successfully overcome Peter Sereda and Eva Jurkova of the Slovak Republic (6-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 14-12), while Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Adina Diaconu also required a comeback to see off the Irish pairing of Paul McCreery and Mia O’Rahilly Egan in a tense encounter (16-18, 11-9, 3-11, 11-7, 11-1).
(Photos: Rémy Gros)
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