by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Miyu Maeda against an opponent to whose style of play she now appears well adjusted.
Both left handers, on their first meeting in a world ranking event, the 2013 ITTF World Tour Korea Open, Petrissa Solja won in four straight games (11-9, 12-10, 13-11, 13-11); one year later at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok, at the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, Miyu Maeda reversed the decision. She prevailed in five games (11-7, 11-2, 6-11, 19-17, 11-6). Now in Olomouc, the success was equally as impressive as in the Thai capital city, Miyu Maeda had adapted.
Defeat for one seeded player as matters progressed in the lower half of the draw in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event; there was defeat for another. A reversal of fortunes for Japan, Miyu Kato, the no.11 seed, was beaten by China’s Gu Ruochen (9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4, 11-7) in what to some extent was a repeat of their one and only prior meeting on the international scene
Approaching five years ago, they met in the third round of the Girls’ Singles event at the Volkswagen 2012 World Junior Championships in Hyderabad; on that occasion Gu Ruochen won in five games (11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-5).
Two upsets but no more as the lower half of the first round draw in the Women’s Singles event concluded; however, there was one close call and one very hard earned success.
Both involving defeats for Japanese players, Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.14 seed, eventually emerged successful against Japan’s Saki Shibata (11-9, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 5-11, 11-9); Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.10 seed, withstood a spirited effort from Asuka Sasao, emerging successful in six games (11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 11-3, 8-11, 14-12).
Meanwhile, for the remaining seeded players, life was less demanding. Germany’s Han Ying, the no.2 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan (11-8, 11-4, 11-5, 11-6); in a similar vein, Mima Ito, the no.3 seed, overcame Croatia’s Mateja Jeger (11-8, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5) as Japan enjoyed notable success.
Honoka Hashimoto, the no.5 seed, proved too secure with her defensive skills when confronting Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz (11-6, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3); likewise Maki Shiomi, the no.15 seed, proved too assured for Italy’s Debora Vivarelli (11-8, 14-12, 11-7, 11-8).
In the lower half of the draw, in the second round of proceedings, Mima Ito plays Gu Ruochen, Georgina Pota opposes Miyu Maeda; meanwhile, Honoka Hashimoto confronts Maki Shiomi, Sofia Polcanova faces Germany’s Han Ying.
The second round of the Women’s Singles event commences at 3.00pm (local time) on Friday 25th August.