by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Liu Shiwen gained revenge in a high class contest but one I suggest never quite reached the heights of Markham; a six games verdict was the order of proceedings (12-14, 11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5).
“I had to play two matches to qualify so I was used to the atmosphere, accustomed to the arena, for Zhu Yuling, it was much different, it was her first match. I think she found it hard to adapt to the rhythm of the match. Both of kept making changes; after the fourth game when we were level, the direction of my play, my placement of the ball was better. In the past we have played so many seven games matches, I was prepared for that again” Liu Shiwen
Revenge for Liu Shiwen, it was the same for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.8 seed. At the recent 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London, she had been beaten by Romania’s Bernadette Szocs in three straight games; in Doha she reversed the verdict to record a five games success (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 11-5).
“Today I was more patient than when I lost in London; also my head was clear today, I was one hundred per cent focused. I cannot really highlight specific points, maybe the fact that I received service well was important but really it was being strong mentally” Cheng I-Ching
Success for Cheng I-Ching as status predicted but there were upsets as the opening round of the Women’s Singles event advanced.
Miyu Nagasaki beat Japanese colleague, Sakura Mori, the no.15 seed (11-13, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9); also from Japan, Hitomi Sato used her defensive skills to good effect to defeat Chen Szu-Yu, the no.10 seed and like Cheng I-Ching from Chinese Taipei (11-3, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2, 11-7).
Upsets, in the remaining contests in the lower half of the first round of the Women’s Singles draw, matters progressed as expected with Japan to the fore.
Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.4 seed, beat Portugal’s Fu Yu (11-5, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4). Hina Hayata, the no.13 seed, overcame Singapore’s Zeng Jian (11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4), whilst Miu Hirano, the no.7 seed, defeated China’s Chen Ke (13-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-9).
Defeat for China but in the one remaining contest to conclude the opening round of the Women’s Singles event, Chen Xingtong, the no.11 seed, halted the ambitions of colleague Zhang Rui (8-11, 11-4, 11-7, 13-11, 11-4).
The second round matches will be played on Friday 9th March.