by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Four groups in the initial stage, each group possessing four players, the immediate task is to finish in either first or second place and thus advance to the quarter-finals.
Arguably, the toughest task is that facing Marwa Alhodaby, her best on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit being the runners up spot on home soil in Cairo. She was beaten in the final by India’s Selena Selvakumar, in Luxembourg both are in the same group; they meet in their second scheduled match of the opening day.
Also, in the group is Su Pei-Ling, the winner in Slovakia; on the opening day of action, she meets Selena Selvakumar, prior to confronting Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze. The runner up last year in Hungary; the good news for Su Pei-Ling is that on her one prior meeting on the international stage against Chau Wing Sze, the Asian Youth Olympic Games Continental Qualification Tournament some three months ago, she prevailed in four straight games.
Similar to Marwa Alhodaby, there are exacting times ahead for Amy Wang and Jinnipa Sawettabut. Amy Wang, at 15 years and two months old, the youngest player in the whole tournament and winner last year in Argentina, faces a daunting task in her opening encounter; she opposes Japan’s Maki Shiomi, the top seed and the winner of no less than four Girls’ Singles titles on the 2017 ITTF World Junior Circuit. In the second series of matches on the opening day, Maki Shiomi confronts India’s Archana Girish Kamatch; Amy Wang opposes Luxembourg’s Sarah Meyer.
Likewise, a most creditable adversary faces Jinnipa Sawettabut on the first day of proceedings; she confronts Miyu Nagasaki, like Maki Shiomi from Japan and the no.2 seed, in her second encounter of proceedings. Pertinently in the Girls’ Team event last year at the Hong Kong Junior and Cadet Open, Miyu Nagasaki beat Jinnipa Sawettabut in three straight games. In the opening contests, Miyu Nagasaki meets Hong Kong’s Wong Chin Yau, Jinnipa Sawettabut confronts Australia’s Michelle Wu.
Meanwhile, in the one remaining group, eyes focus on Europe with Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Belgium’s Lisa Lung being the leading names; on day one they meet in the second series of matches. Adina Diaconu starts her quest against Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ting-Ting, for Lisa Lung, the adversary is Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes.
The group stage matches conclude on Saturday 3rd February.