by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Required to compete in the qualification tournament, 13 year old Satsuki Odo and 20 years of age Saki Shibata caused a major opening round upset.
They beat the partnership formed by Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.2 seeds, recovering from a two games to nil deficit and the edge of defeat in the third game to secure a quite remarkable victory (7-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-7, 11-4).
Remarkable, also it was remarkable in the fact that Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata have no prior record of Women’s Doubles success on the international scene; very different when compared with the European pairing. Notably on the ITTF World Tour, Matilda Ekholm and Georgina Pota won in the Czech Republic in 2016, whilst last year they succeeded in India and on the ITTF Challenge Series in Slovenia.
Defeat for one seeded pairing and there were defeats for two more. The Belarus partnership of Katsiaryna Baravok and Daria Trigolos, the no.7 seeds, lost to Hong Kong qualifiers Mak Tze Wing and Zhu Chengzhu (11-9, 11-7, 11-4); Argentina’s Camila Arguelles and Agustina Iwasa, the no.8 seeds, suffered at the hands of the French combination formed by Oceane Guisnel and Stéphanie Loeuillette (11-5, 12-10, 11-7).
Surprises; for the other leading pairs it was success. In addition to Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.3 seeds, beat Spain’s Sara Ramirez and Zhang Xuan (11-9, 11-5, 11-8); Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Ni Xia Lian, the no.4 seeds, ended the aspirations of the combination formed by Norway’s Ilka Duval and Laura Pfeffer of France (11-6, 11-4, 11-7).
Disappointment for Spain but there was success; Galia Dvorak and Maria Xiao, the no.6 seeds, overcame the pairing comprising the Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova and India’s Mallika Bhandarkar (6-11, 11-6, 14-12, 11-5). Meanwhile, in the one remaining opening round Women’s Doubles contest it was success for Poland; Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka, the no.5 seeds, ended the hopes of partnership comprising Italy’s Debora Vivarelli and Lily Zhang of the United States (8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6).
The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Women’s Doubles event will be staged on Saturday 31st March.