by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Hina Hayata, the no.10 seed, overcame the defensive skills of Poland’s Li Qian (11-711-5, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9); the match following another contest between and attacking player and a defensive expert.
Eventually, after one hour and 34 minutes, 54 year old Ni Xialian overcame Honoka Hashimoto, the no.7 seed (9-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 16-14, 18-16); a contest which must rank as one of the longest ever in modern history.
However, in they were somewhat behind the era prior to the Expedite Rule was introduced. At the 1936 World Championships in Prague, in the Men’s Team event, the first point between Poland’s Alojzy Ehrlich and Romania’s Paneth Farkas lasted two hours and 12 minutes. The ball crossed the net more than 12,000 times. After two hours, the arm of Paneth Farkas began to freeze and he lost the point. The umpire had to be replaced during the match, because his neck was so sore! Paneth Farkas then attacked and lost.
Defeat for Honoka Hashimoto, in addition to Miu Hirano, there were also defeats for Japanese colleagues Maki Shiomi, Hitomi Sato.
Miu Hirano, the no.2 seed, was beaten for the third time this year on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour by China’s Gu Yuting (6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 20-18, 8-11, 11-6), earlier she had experienced defeat in Qatar and Australia.
Meanwhile, Hitomi Sato, the no.5 seed, lost to Gu Ruochen, also from China; Maki Shiomi, the no.14 seed, suffered at the hands of Portugal’s Fu Yu (8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 14-12, 11-8).
Difficult times for notable Japanese players but there were equally notable successes. Additional to Hina Hayata, Yui Hamamoto caused an upset by beating Turkey’s Hu Melek, the no.9 seed (11-7, 11-5, 12-14, 11-7, 11-9); Koka Kato overcame Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.8 seed (11-9, 13-11, 11-6, 11-9).
Disappointment for the host nation; there was a further disappointment; Sofia Polcanova, the no.16 seed, was beaten by China’s Chen Ke (11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8).
The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played in entirety on Friday 22nd September.