by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Defeat for Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka, they were one of two seeded pairs to depart in the first round of the Women’s Doubles competition; the other was the Belarus duo of Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos, the no.7 seeds and runners up last year at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Series Croatian Open. They were beaten by Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Maria Xiao (11-7, 12-10, 11-8).
Two surprise outcomes, for the other highly rated pairs there were no such travails but two pairs did experience problems.
Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.4 seeds, needed the full five games to end the progress of Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya amd Ozge Yilmaz (6-11, 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5). Similarly, the Korean combination of Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.2 seeds, found the French partnership of Laura Gasnier and Marie Migot most worthy opponents. Likewise they needed the full five games to ensure victory (11-5, 9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8)
Testing times for but not for the top seeds, Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato endured no such moments of anguish. They beat the partnership formed by Hungary’s Krisztina Ambrus and Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte in straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
Similarly, for one further prominent partnership, India’s Manika Batra and Mouma Das, the no.3 seeds, a quarter-final place was booked in style. They accounted for the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Milulcova and Kristyna Stefcova in three straight games (17, 15, 11-7, 12-10).
The Women’s Doubles quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played on Friday 16th March.