by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Required to compete in the qualification tournament, she recovered from a three games to nil deficit to beat a prominent Chinese player. Most impressively she accounted for Sun Yingsha, the no.13 seed (8-11, 4-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5).
A fine performance and one that may sound alarm bells in the Chinese camp; Sun Yingsha is her country’s representative in the forthcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
“My opponent played well and she fought well. Mainly it was my own fault I lost, I was not secure and I was too passive. I’m not in my best state; it’s normal to lose some matches. Today I failed to adapt.” Sun Yingsha
Success against higher seeded opposition for Yui Hamamoto, it was the same from Germany’s Han Ying and Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun, likewise both qualifiers. Yang Haeun overcame Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching, the no.14 seed (11-8, 11-9, 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-7); Han Ying proved too secure in defence against Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.12 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-7).
Three first round outcomes against the odds; in the remaining contests as the lower half of the draw in the Women’s Singles event came to a conclusion, it was success for the higher seeded player.
Furthermore, there was more success for Japan with sisters feeling the pain of defeat. Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, beat Germany’s Petrissa Solja (5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-1) ; Hina Hayata, the no.16 seed, accounted for Amelie Solja (11-6, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8).
However, arguably the performance of greatest note from the Japanese camp was that of Mima Ito, the no.6 seed. She overcame the defensive skills of the host nation’s Wu Yang (11-7, 11-3, 12-10, 11-8); a player whose defeats a few years ago could be counted on the fingers of one hand. She became known as the “Bodyguard”, she protected her colleagues from foreign adversaries.
“I failed to apply and prepare the proper strategy and I didn’t play well. My rhythm was disrupted by the opponent. The big problem is tactics! Now the ball is plastic it doesn’t suit skills.” Wu Yang
Defeat for China but there was success and consequently defeat for Japan; Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed, overcame Honoka Hashimoto, finding a rhythm to her play after losing the opening game (10-12, 11-1, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4).
“She has made a lot progress lately and is one of the top foreign defenders. I was prepared for a tough match as it was my first time to play against her. I was prepared for a seven games match but it was more comfortable than expected.” Wang Manyu
Meanwhile, Chen Xingtong, the no.8 sees ended the hopes of Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.16 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-2, 11-6).
“She is tall and relatively slow with her speed, so I was quick to change direction and attacked faster. I think I just played normally. I have played against her before and I was well prepared.” Chen Xingtong
The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played later in the day.