24 Aug 2017

The top four pairs all survived but there were surprises as matters progressed in the first round of the Women’s Doubles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc on Thursday 24th August.

Meanwhile, for the host nation there was success and a place in the quarter-finals.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Hana Matelova joined forces with the Slovak Republic’s Barbora Balazova; the no.7 seeds, they overcame the combination of Marie Migot of France and Serbia’s Andrea Todorovic (11-7, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7).

Likewise, Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato justified their top seeded position in the draw (11-6, 11-4, 11-2), whilst in a similar vein the formation of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.2 seeds, overcame Croatia’s Mirela Durak and Mateja Jeger (11-4, 11-3, 11-9).

Straight games wins, it was the same for Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the no.3 seeds but not for the partnership formed by Hungary’s Dora Madarasz who joined forces with Austria’s Sofia Polcanova.

Hina Hayata and Mima Ito beat Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva and Mariia Tailakova (11-5, 11-7, 11-4); Dora Madarasz and Sofia Polcanova overcame the combination of Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Germany’s Nina Mittelham but, in order to secure victory, had to recover from a two games to nil deficit and the brink of defeat in the third game (6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-5).

Wins as predicted but for three seeded pairs it was an opening round defeat.

Russia’s Maria Malanina and Polina Mikhailova, the no.5 seeds, suffered at the hands of Poland’s Katarzyna Gryzbowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka (11-9, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8) but I would suggest that was no great upset. Katarzyna Gryzbowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka finished in runners up position in the Women’s Doubles event at the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Bangkok.

However, the defeat of Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Chiao and Wang Yi-Ju, the no.6 seeds, was somewhat of an upset; they were beaten by Ukraine’s Iryna Motsyk and Ievgeniia (10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

An upset, the other reverse for a seeded pair was nothing new; defeat at the hands of a Chinese pair with no world ranking but if subjected to more international play would undoubtedly have had a higher status. Hungary’s Bernadett Balint and Mercedes Nagyvaradai, the no.8 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Gu Ruochen and Zhang Zhao (9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 6-11, 11-4).

At the quarter-final stage Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato meet Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova; Iryna Motsyk and Ievgeniia Vasylieva oppose Hina Hayata and Mima Ito. In the opposite half of the draw, Dora Madarasz and Sofia Polcanova play Katarzyna Gryzbowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka, Guo Ruochen and Zhang Zhao confront Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota.

The quarter-finals of the Women’s Doubles event are scheduled for 10.00am (local time) on Friday 25th August.

World Tour 2017 Seamaster Czech Open Hana Matelova Barbora Balazova

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