by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In addition Natalia Bajor, the no.7 seed, brought smiles to the faces of home supporters by overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Fang Sih-Han (6-11, 11-9, 1-11, 11-6, 11-4). It was an outcome as predicted but not necessarily anticipated were the successes achieved by Hungary’s Leonie Hartbrich, Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulova and Alina Zaharia. Alongside Japan’s Satsuki Odo and Korea’s Kim Jiho, they all upset the order of merit.
Leonie Hartbrich beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan, the no.3 seed (12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-6), in an even harder fought five games encounter Tatiana Kukulkova accounted for Germany’s Wan Yuan, the no.4 seed (11-8, 7-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in a similar vein, Alina Zaharia safely negotiated the defensive skills of Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus, the no.5 seed (11-6, 11-5, 11-6), whilst Satsuki Odo added to Belarus pain by overcoming Daria Trigolos, the no.9 seed (11-3, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9). Not to be outdone Kim Jiho ended the hopes of Marie Migot of France (11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5).
Upsets, in fact when the opening round of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event came to a close, only four of the top eight names remained.
In addition to Natalia Bajor, Japan’s Saki Shibata, Russia’s Maria Tailakova and Audrey Zarif of France survived.
Saki Shibata, the top seed, beat Norway’s Rebekka Carlsen (11-3, 11-8, 11-3), Mariia Tailakova, the no.6 seed, overcame Poland’s Julia Slazak (11-8, 11-7, 11-2); Audrey Zarif, the no.8 seed, ended the aspirations of Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva (11-4, 11-6, 11-9).
The second round and quarter-finals of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event will be played later in the day.