By Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Presently list at no.108 on the current Women’s World Rankings, she beat Li Jie of the Netherlands, named at no.20 and the winner earlier in the year at the Europe Top 16 in Antibes. Nina Mittelham emerged successful in six games (6-11, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-4),
Alas for the 21 year old German, earlier in the day she had been beaten in five games by Japan’s 15 year old Miyu Nagasaki, ranked one place higher at no.107 (11-4, 11-9, 13-11, 6-11, 12-10).
Providing that both Li Jie and Miyu Nagasaki arrive on the second day of play to contest the concluding match in the group, it is the end of the road for Nina Mittelham. Meanwhile, for Li Jie in order to claim first place she must beat Miyu Nagasaki in five games or better; any other result and it is first place for Miyu Nagasaki.
Defeat for one player who started proceedings as the highest rated in the group and there were defeats for three more but none could be considered upsets; they were defeats at the hands of members of the Chinese national team who in recent months have been absent from the international stage and thus have no current World ranking.
Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian lost to Li Xiaodan (11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10, 8-11, 11-9), Romania’s Bernadette Szocs suffered against Liu Xi (13-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12), Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam was beaten by Feng Yalan (11-2, 12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8).
Notably in 2010 when the ITTF World Tour German Open was staged in Berlin, Feng Yalan won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title beating colleague, Wu Yang in the final, before the following day securing the Women’s Singles crown. At the final hurdle, she a certain Ding Ning!
A total of 30 groups in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament, players finishing in first place in group no.1 and group no.2 advance directly to the main draw; those in group no.3 to group bo.30 must compete in a preliminary.
Pertinently, Li Jie, Miyu Nagasaki and Nina Mittelham appear in the second group; in the top group, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem is the leading name. She made a positive start to her campaign; in her one and only contest of the day, she beat Spain’s Galia Dvorak (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5).