by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Viktoria Pavlovich who won in 2008 on home soil in Minsk, before emerging successful in 2013 in Olomouc, opened her accounted with success against Russia’s Anastasiia Shevtcova (11-2, 11-3, 11-9, 11-4).
In a similarly impressive performance, Polina Mikhailova, who also enjoyed success in Minsk, succeeding in 2012, accounted for Widaad Gukhool of Mauritius (11-6, 11-4, 12-10, 11-2).
Comfortable wins for Viktoria Pavlovich and Polina Mikhailova; for Hampus Nordberg life was more testing. He had to recover from a three games to one deficit to beat Iran’s 16 year old Amin Ahmadian (11-5, 10-12, 12-14, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7).
A successful start but for all three players and for other notable names who have yet to raise their rackets in anger, there is a distance to travel.
In the Men’s Singles qualification tournament, players who finish in first place in group no.18 to group no.41 progress to the first preliminary round; the winners face the players who secure top spots in group no.1 to group no.18.
There is no room for error and it is the same in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament but arguably with simpler mathematics; a total of 32 groups, players finishing in first place advance to the preliminary round. Winners of the preliminary round matches join the 16 seeds in the main draw.
Early stages of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; in both the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles competitions, play advanced to the semi-final stage.
At the semi-final stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles even, Korea’s Park Ganghyeon meets Japan’s Asuka Sakai; Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang opposes Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic.
Meanwhile, in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event, China reigns supreme providing all four semi-finalists; in the penultimate round Wang Yidi meets Sun Mingyang, Chen Ke opposes Zhang Rui.