by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Undaunted by the quality and seniority of their opponents, they beat Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.2 seeds in four games (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 11-7) to reserve their place in the quarter-finals.
Not only was it success against a more experienced partnership, it was success against one of the most successful combinations in the history of the ITTF World Tour. Earlier this year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun emerged the runners up in Germany, whilst on the ITTF Challenge Series they were the winners in Poland. Overall in 15 finals they have seven ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles to their credit and two such ITTF Challenge Series successes. In addition to this year in Poland, in 2017 they won in Spain.
Success for Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki, also there was success for colleagues but as expected; Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the top seeds, overcame the combination of Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin and Canada’s Zhang Mo (9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).
However, if one national association had reason to celebrate it was Hong Kong; three pairs entered the first round arena, three succeeded, pride of place going to Li Ching Wan and Liu Qi who upset the odds. They recovered from a two games to nil deficit and the brink of defeat to overcome Germany’s Nina Mittelham and Petrissa Solja, the no.8 seeds (5-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-9, 11-4).
Impressive from Li Ching Wan and Liu Qi; it was the same from colleagues Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.3 seeds, as it was from Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.6 seeds. Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching beat the French combination of Laura Gasnier and Audrey Zarif (11-5, 9-11, 11-4, 11-7), Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam accounted for the partnership formed by Russia’s Maria Malanina and Alina Arlouskaya of Belarus (11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8).
Two surprises of note and there was one more; Singapore’s Yu Mengyu and Zeng Jian upset the odds by beating the partnership comprising Russia’s Yana Noskova and Sofia Polcanova, the no.7 seeds (12-10, 11-6, 11-7).
Meanwhile, in the remaining first round Women’s Doubles’ contests it was success as status advised; China imposing authority. Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha, the no.4 seeds, beat Russia’s Ekaterina Guseva and Yulia Prokhorova (11-6, 11-9, 11-5); Chen Ke and Wang Manyu, the no.5 seeds, defeated the French pairing of Pauline Chasselin and Stéphanie Loeuillette (11-7, 11-5, 11-5).
At the quarter-final stage Hina Hayata and Mima Ito meet Li Ching Wan and Liu Qi, Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam confront Chen Xongtong and Sun Yingsha; in the opposite half of the draw, Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching oppose Yu Mengyu and Zeng Jian, Chen Ke and Wang Manyu play Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki.
The matches will be played on Friday 25th May.