by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In a most impressive manner, she proved too secure for Japan’s Yui Hamamoto, the no.5 seed, emerging successful in four straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8) in what is only her second career appearance in an open international tournament.
The one previous excursion was just under six months ago when she competed in the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open in Almeria. On that occasion, she caused a first round upset by overcoming India’s Manika Batra (5-11, 8-11, 4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3, 12-10) before departing in round two.
She was beaten by a certain Yui Hamamoto in four straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-9 11-9); what a difference a year makes is the popular saying, in the case of Kim Danbi reduce that to six months.
Success against the odds for Kim Danbi in the second round of the Women’s Singles event; it was the same for two further qualifiers, colleague Kang Daeyeon and China’s Zuo Yue. In an imposing manner, Zuo Yue beat Singapore’s Yu Mengyu, the no.7 seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 11-13, 11-7); Kang Dayeon ended the hopes of the host nation’s Tamolwan Khethuan, the no.16 seed (14-12, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 12-10).
Second round places for three players who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament and there was progress for one more; Hong Kong’s Lam Yee Lok accounted for fellow qualifier and colleague Lee Ka Yee (11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9).
“I think the match was very exciting because I played against my teammate and we are always practising against each other so we know each other’s game very well. In the beginning I was up two-nil but in the middle of the match she changed strategies and played a slower, more controlled game. I started to come back. I knew that was her strategy so I was able to adjust in the last two games.” Lam Yee Lok
Meanwhile, as play progressed there was one further upset of note; China’s Yuan Yuan, the no.31 seed, defeated Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chia-Hsuan, the no.11 seed (11-4, 17-15, 11-8, 11-5).
Otherwise it was second round success for the prominent names with China’s Liu Shiwen, the top seed, leading the way. She beat Japan’s Satsuki Odo, the no.21 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9) to be followed by the latter’s colleagues who all imposed their authority on proceedings.
Hitomi Sato, the no.2 seed, accounted for Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing, the no.20 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2), Honoka Hashimoto, the no.3 seed, defeated the host nation’s Orawan Paranang, the no.26 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-2, 11-2). Likewise, Saki Shibata proved too strong for Korean qualifier Kang Eunji (11-4, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7), whilst Maki Shiomi, the no.6 seed, halted the aspirations of Kim Mingyung, likewise a qualifier and also from Korea (11-8, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Not to be left out, both Nanthana Komwong and Suthasini Sawettabut kept the hopes of the host nation alive. Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.8 seed, beat Pauline Chasselin of France, the no.25 seed, in what proved the closest match of the round (11-9, 11-6, 11-4, 9-11, 10-12, 11-13, 15-13); rather more comfortably Nanthana Komwong overcame Chinese Taipei’s Wang Yi-Ju, the no.22 seed (14-12, 11-6, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5).
“I led three-nil in games but at the end I was down 8-10 in the deciding game. My opponent was playing better and better every game. I tried to focus more on my serve and my backhand. It was good to comeback after saving two match points.” Suthasini Sawettabut
Play in the third round and quarter-finals takes place on Saturday 19th May.