30 Mar 2018

Impressive performances, the rising generation from Korea and Japan was very much in evidence as play began on Friday 30th March in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Guadalajara.

All teenagers, all required to compete in the qualification tournament, Kim Youjin and Yoon Hyobin upset the seeding to fly the flag for Korea; Yuka Minagawa and Satsuki Odo who promoted the Japanese cause.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager

Add their four ages together and you arrive at a mere 66 years; time for retirement. However, the young ladies in question have many years left and will no doubt continue to delight for the next decade and well beyond.

Yoon Hyobin, 18 years old, captured the biggest scalp, she beat Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.7 seed (11-6, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-7). Next in the pecking order came Yuka Minagawa, 16 years of age, she ended the hopes of twice European champion, Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, the no.9 seed (11-13, 11-6, 10-12, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).

Noteworthy successes, it was the same from Kim Youjin, at 19 years of age the senior member of the quartet, she accounted for Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.12 seed (11-2, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9); whilst Satsuki Odo, the youngest member, only 13 years old, ended the progress of Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist, Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.13 seed (11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Four surprises and there was one more; Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam, the no.8 seed, was beaten by Italy’s Li Xiang (11-7, 12-10, 11-7, 11-5). Disappointment for Hong Kong but there was success; Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.2 seed, doused the hopes of the host nation by overcoming Galia Dvorak (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5).

A place in the round two reserved, it was the same for the other leading names on Women’s Singles first round duty. Hitomi Sato, the top seed and Honoka Hashomoto, the no.4 seed, added to the bank of Japanese success; Hitomi Sato beat Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-0), whilst in a similar vein, Honoka Hashimoto used her increasingly solid backspin skills to end the hopes of Zhu Chengzhu, like Minnie Soo Wai Yam, from Hong Kong (11-7, 12-10, 11-4, 11-5).

Wins as expected, it was the same for the no.3 seed, Hungary’s Georgina Pota accounted for Daria Trigolos of Belarus (11-7, 11-6, 12-10, 19-17).

Visitors to Guadalajara in the ascendancy but there was a shining light for the host nation; the multi-lingual Maria Xiao, the no.16 seed, accounted for Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin, the highest rated player in the qualification tournament to bring smiles to Spanish eyes. Impressively, she emerged successful in five games (11-7, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8, 13-11).

The second round, quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 31st March.

Challenge Series 2018 Spanish Open Satsuki Odo Kim Youjin Yoon Hyobin Yuka Minagawa

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