by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Matters looked bleak at the start of the sixth game, three games to two in arrears, Artchana Girith Kamath trailed 1-4 in the sixth; she recovered. A decisive seventh game beckoned, she established a 7-1 lead; playing freely Lee Yu-Peng mounted a fight back. She reduced the arrears to one point at 9-8 but she was not to win another point; the 17 year old stood firm to end the contest.
“In the seventh game she took a lot of risks and they paid off; when I was losing in the sixth game, Massimo Costantini, my coach, told me “you can do it, you can do it”, he gave me a great deal of confidence. Matches like this are won the head. Also, he told me try to be the first to attack. Lee Yu-Peng has a very strong forehand top spin; it was really hard to block her attacking strokes. Actually, it’s the second time I’ve played her. We played last year at the Taipei Junior and Cadet Open in the Girls’ Team event, I lost three-one, today was much better.” Archana Girish Kamath
Success for Archana Girish Kamath in a contest that attracted the attention; there was also success for player who is attracting more and more attention.
Romania’s Elena Zaharia, only 13 years old, continued her outstanding form, she beat Marharyta Basltushite of Belarus; furthermore, she beat her 17 year old adversary in four straight games (12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 12-10).
“I had so many emotions going through my mind before the match because I really wanted to win at least the first round in the tournament. I just kept telling myself in my mind “fight! Come on Elena, keep fighting!” I just tried to play my game and today my serve was very good and I was able to play consistently on the table. I feel good playing as the youngest, everyone has trust in me, telling me that I can do it, and I like it!” Elena Zaharia
Impressive from Elena Zaharia, it was also impressive from Russia’s Daria Shadrina and Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze; they emerged the only two players to overcome seeded adversaries in the whole of the first round. Daria Shadrina accounted for Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko, the no.16 seed (9-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-2, 11-4); Chau Wing Sze, overcame Belgium’s Lisa Lung (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7).
Two surprises but there were no such happenings amongst the leading names. China’s Wang Manyu, the no.2 seed, beat Bulgaria’s Maria Yovkova (11-4, 11-3, 11-4, 13-15, 11-7), colleague Shi Xunyao, the no.5 seed, overcame Germany’s Sophia Klee (9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3).
Meanwhile, in a similar vein, Japan’s Miyu Kato, the no.3 seed, accounted for the Czech Republic’s Anna Matejovska (11-6, 11-2, 11-2, 11-1); Romania’s Adina Diaconu, the no.6 seed, ended the hopes of Leili Mostafavi of France (11-8, 11-4, 11-6, 11-6).
The second and third rounds of the Girls’ Singles event, in addition to the quarter-finals will be played on Saturday 2nd December.