11 Aug 2018

It has happened before and no doubt it will happen again but never since January 2017 when ITTF Challenge tournaments became an entity in their own right, as opposed to a constituent part of the ITTF World Tour, has it ever happened.

All four Women’s Singles semi-finalists at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open are from China; such was the situation at the close of play in Lagos on Saturday 11th August.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In fact, never has a Chinese player reached a Challenge Series Women’s Singles final but of course there is a more than rational explanation; they have not competed, focusing their attentions on the ITTF World Tour.

At the quarter-final stage in Lagos for Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, the respective top two seeds, it was farewell.

Suthasini Sawettabut came the closer to preventing an all Chinese semi-final line up; she extended Wei Weisheng the full seven games distance (11-5, 11-9, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 2-11, 11-8). Thus she fell just one step short of matching her best ever finish at an open international tournament; last year in Zagreb she had reached the penultimate round.

Similarly for Szandra Pergel, defeat at the hands of Fan Siqi, the no.12 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8), meant she ended matters one place below her finish in Lagos last year and two places below her efforts in 2016. In 2017 she had experienced defeat in the penultimate round when facing the champion elect, Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the previous year she had finished in runners up spot when beaten by Portugal’s Shao Jieni.

Success for Wei Wensheng and for Fan Siqi; in the corresponding quarter-final contests, it was success for China by definition.

Guo Yan, who earlier in the day had won the Under 21 Women’s Singles title, accounted for Qi Fenjie in a seven games encounter (11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8); in a rather less dramatic fashion, Sun Chen overcame Wang Shu (11-3, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-9).

At the semi-final stage Wei Wensheng meets Guo Yan; Sun Chen opposes Fan Siqi; the matches are scheduled for the morning of Sunday 12th August.

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Tuesday 7th August)

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Wednesday 8th August)

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Thursday 9th August)

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Friday 10th August)

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Saturday 11th August)

Challenge Series 2018 Nigeria Open Suthasini Sawettabut Wei Wensheng Fab Siqi

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open