by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Honoka Hashimoto is the next in line to Hitomi Sato followed by Yui Hamamoto, Saki Shibata and Miyu Maeda.
Similar to Hitomi Sato, Honoka Hashimoto has enjoyed success on this year’s ITTF Challenge Series; she won the Women’s Singles title in Croatia. Successful apart, they have also enjoyed considerable success together.
On the Challenge Series they won the Women’s Doubles titles in Thailand and Croatia, while on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour they emerged successful in both Austria and in Australia. In De Haan they are the top seeds ahead of India’s Manika Batra and Mouma Das, quarter-finalists earlier this year at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf.
Similarly on the ITTF World Tour Miyu Maeda, like Hitomi Sato, has enjoyed Women’s Singles success; Miyu Maeda won in 2014 in Chile, Hitomi Sato in Croatia in 2016.
Meanwhile, both Yui Hamamoto and Saki Shibata have Under 21 Women’s Singles titles to their name. Commencing with success in 2013 in the Czech Republic and her most recent victory in 2016 in Germany, Yui Hamamoto has six ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles titles to her credit. Impressive and also impressive is Saki Shibata; on the ITTF World Tour she won in 2016 in Bulgaria and earlier this year in Australia. Also this year she succeeded at the Challenge Series tournaments in Belarus and Thailand.
However, neither can match Hitomi Sato; between 2014 in Korea and 2016 in Slovenia, she won eight times; all three are still eligible this year for Under 21 Women’s Singles evebts but in De Haan have elected to focus principally on the Women’s Singles competition.
A strong entry from Japan from Europe there is also a challenge to note. Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, who won in Belgium in 2012 when the tournament was held in Antwerp as well as in the same year succeeding in Croatia, is named on the entry list, as are Russia’s Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova. On the ITTF World Tour, Maria Dolgikh won in 2013 in Cairo, one year earlier Polina Mikhailova had emerged successful in Belarus.
Furthermore, the most worthy names of Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi appear prominently on the Under 21 Women’s Singles listing, an event in which each has enjoyed success this year. At Challenge Series tournaments, Adina Diaconu won in Croatia, Bruna Takahashi on home soil in São Paulo.
In the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, Adina Diaconu is the no.2 seed, Bruna Takahashi, the no.4 seed. Korea’s Lee Zion heads the list; Chinese Taipei’s Li Yu-Jhun is the no.3 seed.