by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Furthermore, amongst those to cause the upsets and secure first places were players from the host nation; Petra Petek and Mirela Durak rose the occasion.
Pride of place went to Petra Petek, she caused the biggest upset by beating Stéphanie Loueillette of France, the fifth highest rated play on qualification stage duty; impressively, she succeeded in five games (11-8, 11-2, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10).
Impressive from Petra Petek, further down the order it was almost as equally impressive from Mirela Durak, like Petra Petek she beat the highest rated player in her group in the concluding contest to maintain her unbeaten record. Determined Mirela Drak emerged successful in the closest match of the round (11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 8-11, 16-14).
Notable performances; equally the success of India’s Mallika Bhandarkar attracted the attention; she overcame Portugal’s Shao Jieni, the winner on the ITTF World Tour in Lagos in both 2014 and 2015, a seven games success was the order of proceedings (11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7).
Surprise first places, in addition it was the same for Russia’s Ekaterina Guseva and Valeria Shcherbatykh as it was Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Hungary’s Bernadet Balint.
Likewise against the odds, first places were secured by Judith Liu of France and Alexandra Privalova of Belarus in addition to Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska and Poland’s Natalia Bajor.
Play in the main event commences on Thursday 12th April.