15 Mar 2018

A quarter-final exit at the recent 2018 Belgosstrakh European Under 21 Championships, but in the opening round the cause of a major upset by beating Romania’s Adina Diaconu, the no.2 seed; at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open Spala, once again Alina Nikitchanka of Belarus excelled at the opening hurdle.

On the late morning of Thursday 15th March, she effected the biggest surprise as matters progressed in the lower half of the draw in the Women’s Singles event; she beat fellow defender, Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the no.7 seed, in hard fought seven games duel, decided by the very narrowest of margins (3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 11-4, 13-11).

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Success for Alina Nikitchanka contrary to expectations but she was not the only qualifier to upset a seed as play in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event came to a conclusion.

Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska beat Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.10 seed (11-6, 11-6, 11-3, 13-11), Pauline Chasselin of France ousted the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.11 seed (5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 11-6).

Similarly, Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh, the player who had ended the progress of Alina Nikitchanka at the 2018 Belgosstrakh European Under 21 Championships and had eventually finished in runners up spot, maintained her good form. She accounted for India’s Mouma Das, the no.13 seed, in a contest that was on a knife-edge until the final point was secured (11-9, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9).

Surprises and there were plenty more as the lower half of the draw as the opening round of the Women’s Singles event came to a conclusion; Chinese Taipei not experiencing the best of fortunes.

Serbia’s Andrea Todorovic beat Wang Yi-Ju, the no.18 seed (11-5, 5-11, 11-4, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9), Spain’s Galia Dvorak accounted for Huang Yi-Hua (12-10, 11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8), the leading name in the qualification tournament but with the withdrawal of Germany’s Nina Mittelham, originally the no.16 seed, was in fact the no.32 seed.

Imposing performances; it was the same from Slovakia’s Tetyana Kukulova who beat India’s Madhurika Patkar, the no.20 seed (11-4, 12-10, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3) and from England’s Tin-Tin Ho who ousted Brazil’s Guo Lin, the no.31 seed (12-10, 11-4, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8).

Unexpected outcomes, not for Japan’s Hitomi Sato and Saki Shibata nor for Korea’s Yang Haeun, all major title contenders; Hitomi Sato, the no.2 seed, beat Korea’s Shin Yubin (11-1, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8), Yang Haeun, the no.3 seed, defeated Ukraine’s Ganna Farladansksa (11-5, 11-7, 11-1, 11-4), Saki Shibata ended the hopes of Poland’s Natalia Bajor, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8).

Notably in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event in Spala, no less than 15 of the 32 seeded plays experienced defeat; the second round will be played later in the day.

Challenge Series 2018 Polish Open Alina Nikitchanka

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