by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor (Interviews: Olalekan Okusan, Wade Townsend)
Success for Dana Cechova and cheered to victory by a very special supporter; loyal to the cause, dressed in a Czech Republic shirt, her daughter raced into the arena when the final point had been clinched to give her mother a big hug.
“I enjoy playing in front of her. She always cheers and says “mummy come on and win” before the match. I am actually more relaxed when she is in the hall.” Dana Cechova
Relaxed and a reason no doubt for the surprise win.
“She is 18th seed? I didn’t realise that! I’m absolutely happy and excited to win. It was a really tough match as we are really good friends and both sides were fighting hard.” Dana Cechova.
A surprise and there was nearly an even bigger surprise as the first round of the Women’s Singles event came to a conclusion; Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.9 seed, was stretched the full seven games distance by Brazil’s Gui Lin (13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6).
Difficult times for the ninth name in the order of merit but that was not the situation for the top eight.
In addition to Ding Ning, the top seed, who had beaten Daria Trigolos of Belarus (11-4, 11-2, 11-3, 11-4); Chinese national team colleagues all followed suit.
Liu Shiwen, the no.2 seed, overcame Estonia’s Airi Avameri (11-2, 11-2, 11-3, 11-5), Zhu Yuling, the no.3 seed, accounted for Valeria Petrova, also from Estonia (11-3, 11-5, 11-3, 11-2; Chen Meng, the no.5 seed, ended the hopes of Russia’s Mariia Tailakova (11-3, 11-4, 11-2, 11-7).
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei also ended Russian aspirations, she beat Olga Vorobova (11-5, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3), whilst Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.6 seed, overcame Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara (11-2, 11-7, 11-2, 11-8) and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching ended the hopes of Egypt’s Dina Meshref (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 11-2).
“Playing in the second hall was completely different from playing in the main hall. The lighting and atmosphere were completely different. For me to adjust to the hall, I needed at least 30minutes warm-up because the feeling was quite different entirely. My opponent service was very difficult so it was a bit hard for me get the feeling because this was the first time I played in the main hall. Generally I am satisfied with my performance particularly playing against a player that is ranked number seven in the world. In the second and third games, it was a bit close but overall I am okay with my performance.” Dina Meshref
The second round Women’s Singles matches will be played later in the day.