by Simon Daish
Women’s Singles runner up at the 2015 ITTF World Tour event in Bremen, now Petrissa Solja faces a stern test in her bid to reach the main draw of the 2018 competition. Awaiting the host nation representative in the preliminary round is Mu Zi of China, a first meeting between the two at an international ranking event with a spot in the Round of 32 up for grabs.
There will be at the very least one elimination for Team China as Sun Yingsha and Li Jiayi do battle in an all-China encounter: both players will approach the match looking to get on the front foot early with high paced rallies a given. Who will come out on top in their first head-to-head fixture on the ITTF World Tour?
2015 European champion Elizabeta Samara will look to clinch her spot in the Women’s Singles main event as she meets China’s Fan Siqi at the top of the draw while Turkey’s Hu Melek takes on Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun.
Andrej Gacina will be required to compete in the first of two Men’s Singles preliminary rounds on his qualification journey in Bremen; the Croatian player faces India’s Harmeet Desai and the challenge gets tougher still with Nigerian star Quadri Aruna awaiting the winner in the final round of preliminary action.
Hong Kong player Ho Kwan Kit has been handed a difficult opening preliminary round tie with Greek defender Panagiotis Gionis and France’s Can Akkuzu, who outperformed expectations in the group stage, will attempt to claim a huge scalp against Mattias Karlsson.
The Doubles events get underway on the final day of the qualification tournament while the two Under 21 titles will also be contested.