by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Much less international experience that Bernadette Szocs, who earlier this year was pivotal to Romania success at the Liebherr 2017 European Team Championships, Ji Eunchae performed the recovery of the day if not the recovery of the tournament to date.
Required to compete in the qualification tournament, she fought back from a three games to nil deficit against Japan’s Maki Shiomi, the no.6 seed, to record a quite stunning victory (9-11, 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Success for Ji Eunchae means she is the only remaining qualifier in the competition. Colleague Kim Danbi suffered against Yui Hamamoto, the no.3 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9); likewise, Stéphanie Loueillette was beaten by Japanese opposition, she lost to Saki Shibata the no.5 seed but came perilously close to causing an upset, a full distance seven games result was the outcome (10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
Wins as anticipated, it was the same for Japan’s Hina Hayata and Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, as it was for Korea’s Choi Hyojoo and Jeon Jihee.
Hina Hayata, the top seed, beat Maria Xiao, the no.12 seed, to end Spanish hopes (11-6, 11-4, 11-7, 11-9); Jeon Jihee, the no.2 seed, accounted for Japan’s Marina Matsuzawa, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5). Similarly Choi Hyojoo won the all Korean encounter, she overcame Lee Eunhye (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 3-11, 11-7), whilst in the one remaining engagement, experience told.
Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, the no.8 seed, beat Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.11 seed (8-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7).
At the quarter-final stage Hina Hayata meets Choi Hyojoo, Ji Eunchae opposes Bernadette Socs; in the opposite half of the draw Yui Hamamoto plays Saki Shibata, Ni Xia Lian confronts Jeon Jihee.
The matches will be played later in the day.