by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Impressively the 17 year old, finished in first place in her group ahead of India’s Yashini Sivasankar and Italy’s Valentina Roncallo without conceding a single individual game. Presently on the Under Girls’ World Rankings, Yashini Sivasankar is listed at no.53, Valentina Roncallo at no.200.
Defeat for Yashini Sivasankar but there was consolation; she finished in second place in the group and thus advanced to the next stage. Players finishing in first and second places in each group advance to the main draw where they join the 16 seeds who receive direct entries.
A surprise first place but arguably the biggest such surprise was that caused by Darya Kisel of Belarus. Listed at no.242 on the Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, in her opening contest of the day, she accounted for Slovakia’s Tatiana Kulukova, at no. 44 the second highest listed in the qualification group phase (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-6), before securing first place courtesy of success against Croatia’s Klara Bardac, named at no.214 (11-6, 11-9, 11-6). Tatiana Kulukova duly beat Klara Bardac (11-4, 11-3, 11-7) to gain second place in the group.
Similarly, Turkey’s Gul Pembe Ozkaya caused a major upset by beating Finland’s Annika Lundström, at no.45 the third highest rated player on first stage duty (9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8) prior to securing first place by overcoming Hungary’s Kata Fule (7-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6). Second place was the eventual lot of Annika Lundström; she accounted for Kata Fule in four games (11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 11-3).
Presently Gul Pember Ozkaya is named at no.212, Katja Fule at no.260.
Unexpected first places and there were plenty more; notably China’s Sun Yizhen and Huang Fanzhen secured first places in their respective groups contrary to status, as did Japan’s Honami Nakamori, Hikari Olubo and Haruna Ojio.
Likewise, against the odds, Slovenia’s Lea Paulin, Montenegro’s Ivona Petric and Slovakia’s Dasa Sinkarova alongside Oleksandra Tsiupko all topped their respective groups.
However, one notable name did survive; Russia’s Mariia Tailavkova, at no.39 on the current Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, the leading name in first stage action, duly finished her group unbeaten and in first place.
The main draw commences later in the day.