by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
However, the result could not be considered an upset.
Hitomi Sato has no less than eight ITTF World Tour Under 21 Women’s Singles titles to her credit. Notably earlier this year Mak Tze Wing was the runner up in Hungary but when added to the equation the fact Hitomi Sato was crowned Women’s Singles champion in 2016 in Croatia there is a difference in pedigree.
Defeat contrary to seeding, for her colleagues it was very much the reverse scenario. Liu Qi, the no.20 seed, beat Austria’s Karoline Mischek, the no.15 seed (4-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-6). Similarly Lee Ka Yee who presently has no Under 21 Women’s World Ranking, accounted for Pauline Chasselin of France the no.16 seed (7-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7). Likewise Chau Wing Sze whose name does not appear in the order of merit, ousted Russia’s Maria Malanina, the no.14 seed (11-8, 10-12, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Upsetting the pecking order, it was the same for Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Yumeno Soma, as it was for Chinese Taipei’s Fang Sih-Han and China’s He Zhoujia.
Honoka Hashimoto, the no.18 seed, beat Korea’s Choi Hyojoo, the no.7 seed (3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6); Fang Sih-Han, the no.19 seed, accounted for Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.13 seed (12-10, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7). Meanwhile, Yumeno Soma, the no.22 seed, defeated colleague Maki Shiomi, the no.10 seed (12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 12-10).
Impressive performances, it was the same from He Zhoujia, she beat Satsuki Odo, also from Japan (11-5, 11-6, 11-2); He Zhoujia has no current Under 21 Women’s World Ranking, in Hong Kong Satsuki Odo is listed at no.19 spot.
Notably the top six seeds were not required to compete in the opening round.