by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, make no mistake, it was a relieved Li Yuqi who left the arena, she was well aware she had been given a severe test by a player whose style was alien to both Chinese teenagers.
Nithyashtree Mani uses anti-spin rubber on the backhand and makes full use of the surface; the backhand block is her forte.
“I really did not expect to beat Guo Yuhan, the rubber I use, anti-spin on the backhand caused her problems; that’s the major reason why I won. Today I feel my blocking play was good; the hardest part of the match was receiving her service.” Nithyashtree Mani
The win means that there is no Chinese player remaining in the top half of the Junior Girls’ Singles event.
At the quarter-final stage Nithyashtree Mani meets Egypt’s Farida Badawy; the latter’s colleague, Hana Goda, who recorded an opening round success against India’s Mihika Rajezh Rohira (11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 13-11, 6-11, 10-12, 11-7) confronts Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut. Both Jinnipa Sawettabut and Farida Badawy received direct entries to the quarter-finals.
No Chinese interest in the top half of the draw; in the lower half it is very different as China faces India. Zang Xiaotong opposes Swastika Ghosh, Zhang Binyue confronts Varuni Jaiswal.
Meanwhile, in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event, where play has progressed to the semi-final round, life is very, all three steps of the podium are destined for China. In the penultimate round Kuia Man meets Liu Xingchi, Li Yuqi opposes Ma Xinyue.
Play concludes in Muscat on Sunday 11th February.