03 Nov 2017

The defensive art stood firm as Japan’s Hitomi Sato and Honoka Hashimoto, alongside Russia’s Polina Mihailova and Maria Dolgikh emerged successful in the third round of the Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open in De Haan on Friday 3rd November.

Meanwhile, in a round where matters went very much according to plan, Yui Hamamoto and Saki Shibata in addition to Croatia’s Sun Jiayi and Croatia’s Sun Jiayi flew the banner for the top spin style of play.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Hitomi Sato, the top seed and Honoka Hashimoto, the no.2 seed, both ended the progress of Korean qualifiers, the former beat Kim Eunji (11-8, 9-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-6); the latter accounted for Kim Haeun (12-10, 11-3, 11-6, 12-10).

Backspin play and patience key factors; it was the same for Polina Mikhailova and Maria Dolgikh. In hard fought duels, Polina Mikhailova, the no.6 seed, eventually overcame Chinese Taipei’s Li Yu-Jhun, the no.14 seed (11-9, 11-13, 14-12, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6); slightly more comfortably Maria Dolgikh, the no.8 seed, defeated Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte (11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5).

Progress as status advised; such was the pattern of the round.

Sun Jiayi beat fellow qualifier, Maria Malanina, like Polina Mikhailova and Maria Dolgikh from Russia, she won in five games (11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-6). Following her exploits in October, the name of Sun Jiayi appears on the November Women’s World Rankings at no.172. Maria Malanina is listed at no.210.

Impressive, similarly Saki Shibata, the no.4 seed, overcame Romania’s Adina Diaconu, the no.10 seed (5-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-2, 11-9), whilst Korea’s Lee Zion, the no.7 seed, ended the progress of India’s Manika Batra, the no.15 seed (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6).

Hard earned wins but arguably harder earned was the success gained by Yui Hamamoto, the no.3 seed, in opposition to Swedish qualifier Jennifer Jonsson; she had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11, 11-7).

At the quarter-final stage in the top half of the draw Hitomi Sato meets Lee Zion, Sun Jiayi opposes Saki Shibata; in the lower half it is Yui Hamamoto versus Maria Dolgikh, Polina Mikhailova in opposition to Honoka Hashimoto.

Challenge Series 2017 Belgium Open Hitomi Sato Honoka Hashimoto Polina Mikhailova Maria Dolgikh

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Day 3 - 2017 Belgium Open