Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
One year it was a tough task to secure the title in an event dominated by Japan; the only player not from the Land of the Rising Sun in the last eight of the Women’s Singles event was Romania’s Elizabeta Samara. Alas for the lone European there was no further progress, she was beaten by Miyu Kato.
Notably, it was a tournament in which Hina Hayata underlined the fact that she is very adept against defensive players. In the latter stages she accounted for Honoka Hashimoto, Hitomi Sato and Yuka Ishigaki to claim the title.
There is no Yuka Ishigaki on duty this year but both Hitomi Sato and Nonoka Hashimoto are present.
A successful defence, history is against such an occurrence; in fact no player has ever won the Women’s Singles title at an ITTF World Tour tournament staged in Australia on more than one occasion.
However, there is one other past winner on duty; Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, who won in Sydney in 2014, is named on the entry list.
Feng Tianwei, the no.2 seed, is a contender for honours but it is towards China and Japan that eyes are focused; the fact the tournament is of the highest level as opposed to being a Challenge series event last year, has attracted notable names.
China’s Zhu Yuling, the runner up at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships and colleague, Chen Meng, the winner earlier in the year on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour in Qatar, are both in action. Zhu Yuling is the top seed; Chen Meng is the no.3 seed.
Meanwhile, in addition to Hina Hayata, Hitomi Sato and Honoka Hashimoto, the names of Kasumi Ishikawa, Miu Hirano and Mima Ito, all appear on the entry list. Kasumi Ishikawa is the no.4 seed, one place ahead of Miu Hirano with Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching being the next in line.
Mima Ito, Hitomi Sato, Honoka Hashimoto and Hina Hayata complete the top ten names in the Women’s Singles event.