by Ian Marshall, Editor
Feng Tianwei, who won in 2014 in Sydney, is the no.6 seed; Hina Hayata, crowned champion two years later when the tournament was staged in Melbourne, occupies the no.10 seeded spot.
Both will be hoping for better fortunes than witnessed at the recently concluded Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinan Korea Open; Hina Hayata was forced to withdraw through injury, Feng Tianwei, experienced a first round defeat at the hands of Miyu Kato, also from Japan. In Geelong, Miyu Kato is the no.12 seed.
Feng Tianwei focuses just on the Women’s Singles event; Hina Hayata also appears in the Women’s Doubles competition where she partners colleague Mima Ito, an event in which Japan is very much to the fore. Hina Hayata and Mima Ito occupy the top seeded position. They are followed immediately by Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato; Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun reserve the third seeded position.
Notably Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato won in Melbourne in 2016 when beating the host nation’s Jian Fang Lay and Miao Miao in the final, a fate that had also befallen the Australians two years earlier in Sydney, when losing to Japan’s Saki Tashiro and Yuko Fujii. In Geelong there is no Miao Miao but Jian Fang Lay is on duty, like Feng Tianwei she focuses on the Women’s Singles event where she is the no.16 seed.
Somewhat conversely among the seeded players in the Women’s Singles event, Jeon Jihee appears in all three events. In addition to the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles competitions, she partners colleague Lee Sangsu in the Mixed Doubles. They are the top seeds ahead of Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura, the reigning World champions.
No doubt Jeon Jihee will be hoping for a performance similar to that of 2015 in Tweed Heads; on that occasion she was the Women’s Singles runner up, losing to Japan’s Ai Fukuhara in the final, having earlier, on the concluding day of play, partnered compatriot Lee Dasom to Women’s Doubles success.
In Geelong Jeon Jihee is the no.15 seed in the Women’s Singles event; a list headed by Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa. She is followed by China’s Liu Shiwen with colleagues, Mima Ito and Miu Hirano next on the list. Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching is one place ahead of Feng Tianwei.
However, note the immediately ensuing name, China’s Ding Ning, the reigning Olympic and World champion, is the no.7 seed, one place ahead of Japan’s Hitomi Sato who completes the top eight names.