13 Mar 2018

Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-Hua and Egypt’s Yousra Helmy, the leading names required to compete in the Women’s Singles qualification tournament that precedes the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open in Spala, both made successful starts to their campaigns on Tuesday 13th March.

Likewise, the next in the order of merit, Stéphanie Loeuilette of France and Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya enjoyed opening success in an event where players finishing in first places in each of the 32 groups reserve main draw places.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The only member of the quartet to endure problems was Yousra Helmy, she recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat Denmark’s Stefanie Christensen (6-11, 10-12, 11-13, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10, 11-8).

Disappointment for Stefanie Christensen; in her opening match it had been the same eventual outcome; she had been beaten by Korea’s Kim Jiho in five games (11-6, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4), a player who could well prove more than handful for Yousra Helmy. At the 2017 World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda, Kim Jiho reached the third round of the Girls’ Singles event, eventually losing to Japan’s Miyu Kato.

Problems for Yousra Helmy, for the remaining leading names on qualification tournament duty, there were no such problems. Huang Yi-Hua beat Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova (11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8), Stéphanie Loeuilette overcame Sweden’s Daniels Moskovits (11-7, 13-11, 11-8, 11-4), Sibel Altinkaya accounted for Norway’s Maja Haugen Gjelle (11-5, 11-1, 11-6, 11-8).

Likewise amongst the next four names, Spain’s Galia Dvorak, Charlotte Carey of Wales, Laura Gasnier from France and Korea’s Yoo Eunchong, it was success in their initial encounters.

Notably both Galia Dvorak and Charlotte Carey staved off spirited resistance from the host nation’s 17 year old twin sisters Anna and old Katarzyna Wegrzyn. Charlotte Carey needed six games to beat Katarzyna Wegrzyn (6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-5); Galia Dvorak one less to overcome five games (10-12, 11-7, 11-2, 11-7, 11-2).

Similarly, Laura Gasnier needed five games to beat Sweden’s Erika Front (11-4, 5-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7); for Yoo Eunchong it was a straight games success in opposition to Ellen Holmsten, also from Sweden (11-6, 11-8, 12-10, 11-5).

Success as expected but there was one notable casualty. Chile’s Daniela Ortega, listed at no.138 on the current Women’s World Rankings was beaten by the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Mikulcova, named at no.592 (12-10, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10). Alas for Kristyna Mikulcova had experienced defeat in her opening contest when facing England’s Maria Tsaptsinos, ranked no.350 (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10). The outcome depends on the concluding contest in the group between Daniela Ortega and Maria Tsaptsinos.

Play in the qualification tournament draws to a close on Wednesday 14th March.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Sibel Altinkaya Stéphanie Loeuilette Huang Yi-Hua. Yousra Helmy

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Polish Open

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