by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The top seed is Japan’s Hina Hayata, the winner in 2016 on the ITTF World Tour in Australia; likewise there are other names on duty who have enjoyed success on either the ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series; however, none can match Jeon Jihee.
Two years ago, in addition to her Spanish success, she emerged victorious on South American travels when visiting Buenos Aires and Santiago; earlier in 2012 she had also won in Rabat when on African expeditions.
Equally, the name of Jeon Jihee is prominent in the Women’s Doubles events where with colleague Yang Haeun, she has appeared in no less than ten ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles finals, winning three times. In Almeria, they are the top seeds followed by India’s Manika Batra and Mouma Das, quarter-finalists earlier this year at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships.
Success at ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles events, of the leading names on duty in Almeria she is not alone.
In 2016 alongside Hina Hayata who won in Australia, colleague Saki Shibata claimed gold in Minsk in 2016, earlier Korea’s Choi Hyojoo succeeded in 2015 in Zagreb. Additionally, the host nation’s Sara Ramirez prevailed in 2012 in Cairo. Even earlier, now some two decades ago in 1998, Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian emerged victorious at the United States Open in Houston.
Equally, on duty in Almeria are players who have enjoyed success this year at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, Romania’s Bernadette Szocs won in São Paulo, Egypt’s Dina Meshref in Lagos.
Notable performances and two more names can be added to the list of title contenders, players seeking to make the next step having won Under 21 Women’s Singles title.
Japan’s Yui Hamamoto is the no.3 seed in the Women’s Singles event, she has six such titles to her credit, Yang Haeun, the no.4 seed, owns nine in total.