05 Oct 2017

Present earlier this year at the Seamaster ITTF Asian Championships and the Liebherr World Championships but with no results that really caught the eye; Singapore’s Zhang Wanling most certainly caught the eye on the opening day of play, Wednesday 4th October, at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open in Czestochowa.

The lowest rated player in her initial stage group in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, she finished in first position and thus reserved a place in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Listed at no.278 on the current Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, she accounted for Italy’s Le Thi Hong Loan, named at no.252 (11-7, 11-7, 13-11), before causing an even bigger upset by overcoming the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Stefcova, at no.117 the highest rated player in the first phase of proceedings. Zhang Wanling emerged successful in five games (8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7).

Progress to the main draw and to line up alongside the top 16 names in the competition necessitates Kristyna Stefcova to beat Le Thi Hong and rely on lady luck. Players finishing in first places in each of the 14 groups plus two “Lucky Losers”, drawn at random from the second places players, advance to the knock-out rounds.

A main draw place assured for Zhang Wanling, it is the same for Croatia’s Sun Jiayi, the recent winner on the ITTF World Junior Circuit on both home soil in Varazdin and in the Slovenian town of Otocec. No current world ranking, she accounted for Poland’s Julia Szymczak (11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8) and Italy’s Veronica Mosconi (5-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-4). Presently on the Under 21 Women’s World Rankings, Julia Szymczak is named at no.206, Veronica Mosconi at no.174.

Two surprise first place but other than for Kristyna Stefcova, the leading names are on course; for Italy’s Georgia Piccolin, Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus, it was one match played one success.

Challenge Series 2017 Polish Open Zhang Wanling

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