by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
A quite remarkable result; Lee Eunhye is presently listed at no.136 on the Women’s World Rankings and did not gain selection for the recent Liebherr 2018 World Championships; conversely Kasumi Ishikawa is named at no.3 and lost just one match in Halmstad as she led Japan to silver.
“This is our first encounter and she’s such a good player, so I had to fight for each and every point in the match. Today I think I won because of my mentality, just fighting throughout the match against. I played the qualifications to be here; it was only her first match, so I think that’s why I was able to adapt faster in the match.” Lee Eunhye
A major surprise, one that overshadowed the efforts caused by fellow qualifiers China’s Wang Yidi and Chen Ke who very much emulated Lee Eunhye; both beat Japanese opposition.
Wang Yidi overcame the defensive skills of Hitomi Sato, the no.9 seed (11-5, 11-9, 11-7, 11-7); Chen Ke eventually ended the hopes of a spirited Miyu Kato, the no.15 seed (11-2, 11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8).
Defeats for Japan and there was one more as play in the top half of draw progressed in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event but the reverse was as expected. Miyuu Kihara, only 13 years old, lost to Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.16 seed. She was beaten in a contest in which she caused her more senior opponent a whole host of problems, a six games verdict being the end result (11-8, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 13-11).
“I started slowly in this match as it was my first match in Hong Kong. I needed time to get used to the new environment. After the third game, I picked up my pace and played better and better. I look forward to the next match.” Sofia Polcanova
Problematic times for the Land of the Rising Sun in the top half of the Women’s Singles draw; only Mima Ito, the no.5 seed remains and that by definition. She booked her second round place courtesy of success in opposition to colleague Honoka Hashimoto (11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 15-13, 11-3).
Success as predicted for Mima Ito; such was the situation for China’s Wang Manyu as it was for Korea’s Suh Hyowon and the host’s Lee Ho Ching.
Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, beat colleague, Gu Yuting (11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9), Suh Hyowon, the no.8 seed, accounted for Romania’s Elizabeta Samara (2-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4); Lee Ho Ching, the no.12 seed, ended the progress of Canada’s Zhang Mo (11-6, 11-3, 12-10, 11-4).
Play in the second round of the Women’s Singles event will be conducted on Friday 25th May.