by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Fu Yu and Huang Yi-Hua have proved most worthy competitors, always testing opponents, Fu Yu extolling the pen-hold grip style; Huang Yi-Hua one of the most powerful female player of the modern era.
However, neither can match the achievements on the ITTF World Tour gained by Tie Yana and Jiang Huajun.
Now 38 years old, some six months younger than Fu Yu, the most senior player on duty in Tokyo, Tie Yana has a record of success on the ITTF World Tour few can match. She has won no less than nine Women’s Singles title, her first being in 2002 in Korea when she beat Jiang Huajun in the final.
A record that few can match, Jiang Huajun has a record that no player can match; no player has a better ratio of success against the one and only Zhang Yining, Olympic and World Champion, than Jiang Huajun.
They met five times on the ITTF World Tour, Zhang Yining won only once; the quarter-final round at the Volkswagen Open China in 2008, Jiang Huajun won the other four!
It is far better than the legendary Wang Nan, also Olympic and World champion, she met Zhang Yining on 12 occasions on the ITTF World Tour; she won only three times.
Overall Jiang Huajun has won four ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles and could that fact prove vital in the quest for a main draw place?
Could it work in favour of six other players? Korea’s Suh Hyeowon and Choi Hyojoo alongside Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Japan’s Sakura Mori have all won ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles titles, as have China’s Chen Xingtong and Portugal’s Shao Xieni.
All appear in the qualification tournament as do three players who excelled at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf.
In addition to Elizabeta Samara who reached the fourth round, Japan’s Miyu Kato advanced to the same stage, whilst Korea’s Yang Haeun and Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching both reached round three.
Years of experience, appearance in finals, current good form; which of those will emerge the most relevant in the Women’s Singles tournament?
There are just 16 places available in the main draw.