by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
The result must rank as one of the very best of the 20 year olds career; Hitomi Sato, classical in style, is both a player of high pedigree and a player in form.
Currently listed at no.16, as opposed to Pauline Chasselin who is at no.195; Hitomi Sato is the highest listed defensive player in the current Women’s World Rankings. Moreover, last week she reached the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Open. Last year she won three Women’s Singles titles at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, succeeding in Belarus, Thailand and Slovenia. Furthermore, in 2016 she succeeded on the ITTF World Tour in Croatia.
A shock win for Pauline Chasselin, she was note alone; also required to compete in the qualification tournament Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska and Chinese Taipei’s Tsui Pao-Wen, both caused upsets as did India’s Manika Batra, the no.14 seed.
Manika Batra, the no.14 seed, added to Japanese pain by overcoming Saki Shibata, the no.5 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-5, 6-11, 6-11, 11-9), Margaryta Pesotska ousted Russia’s Yana Noskova, the no.17 seed (11-7, 11-5, 11-8, 11-2); Tsui Pao-Wen ended the progress of Ganna Gaponova, like Margaryta Pesotska from Ukraine (9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-5).
Disappointment for Japan but there was one success; as status predicted, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.4 seed, beat Korea’s Choi Hyojoo, the no.12 seed (11-7, 12-10, 13-11, 11-7).
Defeat for Choi Hyojoo but for Korea there was plenty of reason to celebrate. Sun Hyowon, the top seed, beat Japan’s 13 year old Miyuu Kihara, the no.22 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-3, 9-11, 8-11, 11-5), Yang Haeun, the no.3 seed, defeated Serbian qualifier, Andrea Todorovic (14-16, 11-5, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5); Jeon Jihee halted the progress of Romania’s Alina Zaharia in what proved the closest contest of the round. Alina Zaharia who had been required to qualify extended Jeon Jihee to the very limit (9-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4, 11-9).
At the quarter-final stage Suh Hyowon meets Jeon Jihee, Tsui Pao-Wen confronts Honoka Hashimoto; in the opposite half of the draw Yang Haeun faces Manika Batra, Margaryta Pesotska opposes Pauline Chasselin.
The matches will be played later in the evening.