by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Likewise, Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci, the no.7 seed, topped her group by recording a series of impressive performances but for her compatriot, Abir Haj Salah, the no.8 seed, there were problems; after securing the opening two games, she was beaten by Egypt’s Hana Mahmoud by the very narrowest of decisions (4-11, 12-14, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).
Hana Mahmoud remained unbeaten to top the group; for Abir Haj Salah it was her only defeat. Thus second place in the group and progress to the main draw was gained. Players finishing in first and second positions in each of the eight groups advanced to the knock-out phase.
Defeat for Abir Haj Salah; there were close calls Nigeria’s Esther Oribamese, the no.5 seed and for Malamatenia Papadimitriou of Greece, the no.6 seed.
Both were tested by host nation adversaries. Esther Oribamese needed the full five games to beat Waad Ibrahim, only emerging successful by the very minimal two point margin in the deciding game (8-11, 11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10).
Similarly, Malamatenia Papadimitriou experienced exacting times. She had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to overcome Haba Ehab (8-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6), having in her opening contest been stretched to the very limit by Eman Taha (6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 3-11, 11-9).
Waad Ibrahim and Eman Taha duly secured second places; in their concluding contests, Waad Ibrahim beat Egypt’s Basma Bahaaeldin (11-9, 7-11, 13-11, 4-11, 11-9); Eman Taha overcame Haba Ehab (11-7, 12-10, 11-8).
Play in the Junior Girls’ Singles event progresses to the semi-final stage on Saturday 14th October.