by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Listed at no.17 on the current Under 15 Girls’ World Rankings playing in her first ever ITTF World Tour tournament, she accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yu-Chin (11-4, 11-2, 11-6, 11-4), prior to overcoming the defensive skills of Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova (11-2, 8-11, 11-9, 11-3, 11-1).
Good players adapt; certainly Jamila Laurenti adapted quickly the theatre of the ITTF World Tour.
Presently on the Women’s World Rankings, Ganna Gaponova stands at no.98; Tsai Yu-Chin is listed at no.227.
“I think I played well, I was a little nervous before the matches started because this is my first World Tour tournament; I was really focused and motivated; I’m so happy!” Jamila Laurenti
A surprise first place for Jamila Laurenti; according to numbers it was the same for China’s Yuan Yuan. No current world ranking, she finished in first place in her group in convincing fashion. She beat Charlotte Carey of Wales, ranked no.231 (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8), before overcoming the host nation’s Renata Strbikova, listed at no.95 in the global order (11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 20-18).
However, Yuan Yuan is no stranger to international competition; last year she was the runner up in the Junior Girls’ Singles event at the 2016 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships.
Problems for two leading names and in groups consisting of four players where one match for each still remains, two further prominent names experienced defeats; the players to cause the upsets were compatriots of Yuan Yuan and likewise players with no current world ranking.
Zhang Zhao accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen, listed at no.172 (9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 4-11, 14-12) and Belgium’s Lisa Lung, named at no.197 (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-3) to end the day as the one unbeaten player in the group. Likewise, Guo Ruochen accounted for Poland’s Magdalena Sikorska (11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6) and Hungary’s Mercedes Nagyvaradi (8-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8); currently on the Women’s World Rankings, Magdalena Sikorska is named at no.184, Mercedes Nagyvaradi at no.173.
Upsets, they were not in reality. Zhang Zhao is new to the international scene but Guo Ruochen, in addition to being a bronze medallist in the Girls’ Singles event at the 2011 and 2012 World Junior Championships, reached the semi-final round of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour German Open. In May of that year she reached no.46 on the Women’s World Rankings.
Defeat for leading names but not for the leading players on Women’s Singles qualification tournament duty. One match played, it was one win for Japan’s Saki Shibata, Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, Russia’s Polina Mikhailova and Poland’s Natalia Partyka.
However, the opening match success was not without some moments of thought; notably Viktoria Pavlovich need the full seven games to beat Serbia’s Dragana Vignjevic (13-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7).
Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 23rd August. Players who finish in first place in group no.1 and no.2 advance directly to the main draw; those in group no.3 to no.30 compete in a preliminary round.