24 Nov 2017

Runner up earlier in the year in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event in Zagreb, when beaten by Romania’s Adina Diaconu at the final hurdle, Korea’s Ji Eunchae emerged the player to cause the biggest upset in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria on Friday 24th November.

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, the 21 year old accounted for Japan’s Kyoka Kato, the no.10 seed, in five games (4-11, 11-5, 13-11, 11-4, 12-10) to reserve her place in the second round.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The success gained by Ji Eunchae marked one of only three defeats for players who had gained a direct entry to the main draw of the Women’s Singles event.

Also from Korea, Kim Danbi upset the pecking order as did Stéphanie Loueillette of France.

Kim Danbi beat Manika Bartra, the no.16 seed; the Korean gradually adapting to the style of the Indian who uses long pimpled rubber on the backhand, Kim Danbi recovered from a three games to nil deficit before emerging victorious by the very narrowest of decisions (5-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3, 12-10).

Victory by the very narrowest of margins for Kim Danbi; it was the same for Stéphanie Loueillette. Eventually she overcame the defensive skills of Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova, the no.14 seed (7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 4-11, 11-5, 11-9).

Three upsets and there were two close calls for seeded players when confronting qualifiers. Like Kim Danbi and Ji Eunchae from Korea, Choi Hyojoo, the no.7 seed, needed the full seven games to beat Japan’s Satsuki Odo (7-11, 14-16, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-4). Similarly, Egypt’s Dina Meshref was stretched to the full distance by the Czech Republic’s Dana Cechova (8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 4-11, 7-11, 11-7) the high listed name in the qualification event.

Hard fought wins, for the leading names on duty life was less traumatic.

Japan’s Hina Hayata and Yui Hamamoto enjoyed success ad did Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun. Hina Hayata, the top seed, beat Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya (11-5, 11-5, 11-3, 11-4), Jeon Jihee, the no.2 seed, accounted for Switzerland’s Rachel Moret (11-9, 12-10, 11-5, 11-8).

Similarly, Yui Hamamato, the no.3 seed, accounted for Laura Gasnier of France (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5); Yang Haeun halted the progress of Nadezdha Bogdanova of Belarus (11-8, 11-1, 11-5, 7-11, 11-3).

Meanwhile, for the host nation there was good news, the one representative, Maria Xiao, the no.12 seed, beat Marharyta Baltushite of Belarus (13-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7) to reserve her place in the second round.

The second round and quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday 25th November.

Challenge Series 2017 Spanish Open Ji Eunchae Kim Danbi Stéphanie Loueillette

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Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open