by Simon Daish
China’s very own Che Xiaoxi and Liu Fei contributed two of the standout results on day one of Women’s Singles qualification with outstanding displays. Recovering from a game down, Che Xiaoxi accounted for World No.31 Li Qian (12-14, 11-5, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9) while currently unranked Liu Fei beat Japanese opponent Miyuu Kihara (11-0, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8) to book a meeting with Yang Haeun.
The opening day of qualification also saw the exit of Lin Chia-Hsuan: the Chinese Taipei representative, who occupies 98th position in the world, fell to a five games defeat in her opening encounter with Portugal’s Shao Jieni, ranked 153rd (12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4).
Japan’s Satsuki Odo endured a challenging opening to her qualifying campaign with a seven games victory over Zhou Yihan of Singapore (4-11, 11-1, 3-11, 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-9) and Europe Top 16 Cup winner Bernadette Szocs prevailed in her tie against Lisa Lung (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9) to advance to the next stage.
Zhang Jike delivered a winning start to the Men’s Singles qualification tournament for his fans to enjoy, holding off a brave attempt from rising German star Kilian Ort (9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 14-12). Likewise, Zhang Jike’s fellow compatriot Fang Bo was also forced to pull off a mini-comeback in his opening contest against Italy’s Niagol Stoyanov (7-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-8).
Along with the anticipated outcomes there were also a number of upsets to discuss including an early exit for João Monteiro: ranked 63rd in the world, the Portuguese competitor failed to capitalise on a two games to one lead as he lost out to Hwang Minha (9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6) with the Korea Republic player subsequently setting up a meeting with the host nation’s Xue Fei on day two of qualifying.
Another major name to suffer defeat at the first hurdle was Hong Kong’s Ng Pak Nam who, despite establishing an early lead, ended up on the wrong side of a five games match against Deni Kozul of Slovenia (10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 14-12, 11-4). Cho Seungmin and Lam Siu Hang also departed the proceedings on the opening day of play in Shenzhen.