by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Impressively Sun Yingsha won in six games (11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 4-11, 11-5); in the opening round Feng Tianwei had beaten Austria’s Sofia Polcanova (11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-2, 4-11, 11-5).
“This is the first time we have played against each other. I’ve had a cold lately, not in a good form. Of course that is one reason; also I’m fatigued after the World Championships. I was not able to adapt and change my pace fast enough in the match. Playing against a Chinese player, once you are slow in making changes, you are in a passive position. For me, now my priority is to recover fast, as there are many more competitions coming up. Sun Yingsha played well today, very mature mentally, unlike other 16 year olds who might get nervous.” Feng Tianwei
Two surprise wins, it was the very same for compatriot Wang Manyu, likewise a qualifier. The 18 year old, who earlier this year had been the runner up in Qatar, after causing the host nation excruciating pain by beating Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.3 seed, in the opening round (6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12, 11-7), continued her good form to cause yet another upset. In round two she ended the hopes of Romania’s Elizabeta Samara (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7).
An impressive win against the 2015 European champion; Elizabeta Samara was a player in form; also a qualifier, in the opening round she had also caused Singapore anguish. She had beaten Yu Mengyu, the no.16 seed (11-7, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5).
Success for Elizabeta Samara against the odds, it was just one of a whole host of upsets in round one of the Women’s Singles event.
In addition to Elizabeta Samara, Sung Yingsha and Wang Manyu; Portugal’s Fu Yu beat Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto, the no.15 seed (11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 14-12, 13-11), whilst China’s Chen Ke overcame Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.14 seed (11-6, 12-10, 11-2, 11-7).
Fu Yu now meets Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.4 seed and first round winner over Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-4); the contest to be enacted on Saturday 17th June. However, for Chen Ke the adventures are over; in the second round she was beaten by the host nation’s Mima Ito, the no.8 seed, in a full distance seven games duel (11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7). In the opening round Mima Ito had beaten Korea’s Yang Haeun (6-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5).
“It’s our first encounter, so I knew I had to play with my full power. Even though the match was very close against Chen Ke, I wasn’t thinking too much in the match, I wasn’t nervous at all. I played with the same mind-set as when I was playing the World Championships.” Mima Ito
Surprises and as the top half of the draw in the Women’s Singles event advanced, there was one more. Germany’s Shan Xiaona, the no.14 seed, who in the opening round had beaten Japan’s Miyu Kato (11-5, 8-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3) caused the host nation more pain by penetrating the defensive skills of Hitomi Sato, the no.7 seed (11-5, 10-12, 11-6, 13-11, 12-10).
In round one Hitomi Sato had ousted China’s Yuan Xuejiao (11-3, 11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-4) a right handed attacking player making her international debut.
Upsets upon upsets, with second round in the lower half of the draw in the Women’s Singles event to be completed on the penultimate day of action, just three of the top eight seeds remain.
At the conclusion of the day, in addition to Mima Ito and Cheng I-Ching; only five of the top eight seeds remain, the medal hopes of China’s Chen Meng, the no.2 seed, Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.5 seed and Germany’s Han Ying, the no.6 seed are still intact.
In the opening round, Chen Meng beat Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam (11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 11-5), Miu Hirano overcame Korea’s Suh Hyowon (11-8, 11-6, 11-4, 11-4); Han Ying proved too secure in defence for Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).
All three appear in the lower half of the draw; the second round matches are yet to be completed.