by Simon Daish
129 players are competing in the Women’s Singles qualification group stage with the winners of the 43 groups advancing through to the preliminary qualification rounds.
Solomiya Brateyko negotiated a tough opening battle in Group 31 as the 17-year-old Ukraine star was pushed right down to the wire in her opening match of the campaign against Ema Labosova of the Slovak Republic (11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5).
Seven games were also required for Ievgeniia Vasylieva to claim victory, holding off a stern challenge from Italy’s Jamila Laurenti (11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-1, 10-12, 12-10) while there were also opening day success stories for Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova, Tetyana Bilenko and Margaryta Pesotska.
Croatia will have a representative involved in preliminary round action after Sun Jiayi booked her place at the top of her qualification group with positive outings against Britt Eerland (12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8) and Natalia Bajor (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6) of the Netherlands and Poland respectively.
Another player who has successfully earned a spot in the next stage of qualifying is Chinese representative He Zhuojia following back-to-back victories over Sweden’s Li Fen (11-7, 11-2, 11-9, 11-5) and the Czech Republic’s Dana Cechova (11-5, 11-5, 11-7, 11-6).
Qualification for the Men’s Singles event also commenced on the opening day of play in Budapest as players fought it out across 54 groups in the first stage of qualifying action.
Soumyajit Ghosh survived an early scare in his first match of the qualification tournament with the Indian contestant requiring a big comeback effort against Russian opponent Vasily Lakeev (9-11, 11-3, 7-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7) in Group 12.
Five other Indian competitors also came through the opening day of action undefeated including Sharath Kamal Achanta, who opened his account in Budapest with a five games triumph over the Slovak Republic’s Samuel Novota (11-6, 11-9, 11-13, 11-3, 11-3).
There were also couple of standout fixtures involving representatives from the host nation’s, one of which featured Bence Majoros.
Requiring the full seven games distance the Hungarian saw off Israel’s Michael Tauber in a tight encounter (11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-5) to set up what is essentially a play-off match with Darko Jorgic for top spot in the group.