by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Nicole Arlia finished in second place in her group behind Romania’s Andreea Hudusan, a situation that also applied to Gaia Smargiassi, she finished next in line to Slovenia’s Laura Opeka. Meanwhile for Valentina Roncall it was top spot with Bulgaria’s Ivet Ilieva in runners up position.
Success in the initial stage but in the opening round of the main draw it was defeat. Nicole Arlia was beaten by Lithuania’s Auguste Melaikaite (11-6, 11-4, 11-3, 6-11, 11-4), Gaia Smargiassi lost to Canada’s Laura Opeka, whilst Valentina Roncallo suffered at the hands Singapore’s Zhou Yingji (11-3, 11-8, 11-13, 11-2, 11-5).
Conversely, for the other names who had upset the ranked order to finish in first places in their respective groups, it was main draw progress.
China’s Chen Yi recorded an opening round win against Slovakia’s Natalia Divinska (11-1, 11-6, 11-5, 11-2), whilst Wang Yangchen, also from China and Canada’s Benita Zhou received direct entries to the second round.
Similarly, in the Junior Girls’ Doubles event, the top seeded Romanian partnership of Andreea Dragoman and Tania Plaian have yet to start their campaign; they received a direct entry to round two as did the next two partnerships in the order of merit.
China’s Huang Fanzhen and Qian Tianyi, commence their quest for honours in round two, as does the Belarus pairing of Maharyta Baltushite and Nadezhda Bogdanova, the no.3 seeds. The one leading partnership called to action on the opening day was that of Slovakia’s Natalia Grigelova and Nikoleta Puchovanova; they beat the combination of Portugal’s Ines Batista and Chiara Morri in four games (11-3, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8).
Play in the Junior Girls’ Singles and Junior Girls’ Doubles events conclude on Thursday 22nd March.