22 Nov 2017

A fine start for France; in fact in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament for the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria, on the first day of play, Wednesday 22nd November, it could not have been better.

Five players entered the arena, each scheduled to play one match, each emerged successful; furthermore, no member of the quintet was extended the full seven games distance.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Pride of place went to 19 year old Oceane Guisnel, she accounted for Alexandra Privalova of Belarus (2-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7), a player who has enjoyed success on the ITTF World Tour.

In both 2012 and 2013, playing on home soil in Minsk, she was the runner up in the Women’s Singles event; beaten on the former occasion by Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the latter by Germany’s Sabine Winter.

Impressive from Oceane Guisnel; it was the same from Laura Pfeffer who beat Russia’s Viktoriia Klimchenko (11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9) and from Stéphanie Loueillette who accounted for England’s Maria Tsaptsinos (11-6, 11-1, 11-7, 11-7).

Likewise, both Audrey Zarif and Laura Gasnier were in form; both stifled Spanish aspirations. Audrey Zarif beat Marina Niguez (11-2, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8), Laura Gasnier prevailed against Claudia Caymel (11-6, 10-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-7).

Defeats for Marina Niguez and Claudia Caymel but the biggest disappointment for the host nation was the reverse experienced by Zhang Xuan, at no.222 on the current Women’s World Rankings, the highest rated player in her group. She was beaten by Korea’s Kim Danbi (12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 15-17, 11-1, 11-9), a player with no current global status.

Zhang Xuan recovered to beat Russia’s Valeria Kotcyur (11-6, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8, 11-9), also a player with no world ranking, whilst in her second contest of the day Kim Danbi accounted for Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin (10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-6) Presently, Giorgia Piccolin is named at no.216 in the world order.

Realistically for Zhang Xuan the chance of a main draw place has evaporated; only players finishing in first places progress. The winners in group no.1 to group no.12 advance directly to the main draw, those who finish in top spots in group no.13 to group no.20 compete in a preliminary round.

Then end of the road for Zhang Xuan and also for one further notable name. Listed at no.208 on the current Women’s World Rankings, Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh was beaten by Japan’s Honoka Iwakoshi (12-10, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10). Honoka Iwakoshi has no current global status.

The Women’s Singles qualification tournament concludes on Thursday 23rd November.


Challenge Series 2017 Spanish Open Audrey Zarif Laura Gasnier Oceane Guisnel Stéphanie Loueillette Laura Pfeffer

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Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open