by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Listed at no.6 on the current Under 18 Girls’ World Rankings, Chau Wing Sze heads the seeding. She is followed by Wong Chin Yau; Lee Ka Yee occupies the fourth spot behind Lucie Gauthier of France.
Presently in the global order Wong Chin Yau is named at no.16, Lucie Gauthier ten places lower at no.26 with Lee Ka Yee being listed at no.35.
It is for the Hong Kong trio their first venture of the year on the ITTF World Junior Circuit but none are strangers to the concept; in 2016 both Wong Chin Yau and Chau Wing Sze fell just one step short of the top Junior Girls’ Singles prize. Wong Chin Yau was the runner up in Slovenia losing to Croatia’s Sun Jiayi at the final hurdle, whilst in Hungary, Chau Wing Sze accounted for Lee Ka Yee in the penultimate round, before experiencing defeat at the hands of Serbia’s Sabina Surjan.
However, both Lee Ka Yee and Wong Chin Yau have won ITTF World Junior Circuit Cadet Girls’ Singles titles; in 2016 Lee Ka Yee succeeded in Sweden and Thailand, prior to retaining her Swedish title one year later. Also in 2016, Wong Chin Yau succeeded in Chinese Taipei.
Challenging for honours but not quite able to make the final steps, it is very similar for Lucy Gauthier who has emerged one of this year’s most impressive players. Notably she reached the quarter-final round in the Czech Republic and the semi-finals in Tunisia.
Impressive in Tunisia, it was the same for colleague Leili Mostafavi; she reached the quarter-finals. In Spa she is the no.7 seed, being named behind Poland’s Anna Wegrzyn and Japan’s Yukari Sugasawa. Also from Poland, Julia Szymczak completes the top eight names.
Notably, earlier this year Yukari Sugasawa was a quarter-finalist in Sweden; however, as yet the Polish duo has to reach such heights. On their one appearance of the year to date, the Czech Junior and Cadet Open, it was a third round exit for Anna Wegrzyn, one round later for Yukari Sugasawa.
The Junior Girls’ Singles event commences proceedings.