by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Defeat for Natalia Partyka but she was not the only seed to suffer as play progressed in the top half of the draw in opening round in the Women’s Singles event; there were also defeats for Egypt’s Dina Meshref, Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte, Spain’s Maria Xiao, Italy’s Debora Vivarelli, Ukraine’s Solmoya Brateyko and the Czech Republic’s Dana Cechova.
Dina Meshref, the no.9 seed, emerged the major casualty; winner of the recent 2018 ITT-Africa Top 16 Cup title in Nairobi, she was beaten by Chinese Taipei’s Tsui Pao-Wen (9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11).
Next in the order, Sarah de Nutte, the no.15 seed, suffered at the hands of Romania’s Alina Zaharia (8-11, 8-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9), whilst in a similarly closely contested seven games encounter, Dana Cechova, the no.28 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Laura Pfeffer of France (7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7).
Success for Alina Zaharia against the odds; it was the same for her colleague, Andreea Dragoman. She ended the hopes of Debora Vivarelli, the no.26 seed (9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6). Similarly Charlotte Carey overcame Solomiya Brateyko, the no.27 seed (11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 8-11, 11-6); in a contest just as close, needing seven games to decide the winner, Korea’s Kim Jiho halted the aspirations of Maria Xiao (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5).
Upsets, for the leading names in the upper half of the Women’s Singles draw, with the exception of Dina Meshref, it was success for the principal protagonists and success for Korea. Suh Hyowon, the top seed, beat Poland’s Julia Slazak (11-4, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3); Jeon Jihee, the no.8 seed, overcame Stéphanie Loeuillette of France (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9).
Meanwhile, not to be upstaged, Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto, the no.4 seed, overcame Italy’s Li Xiang but it was close; she needed the full seven games to secure victory (6-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 6-11, 12-10, 11-6).
The second round of the Women’s Singles takes place later in the day.