17 Aug 2018

Winners one year ago when overcoming the combination of Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota at the final hurdle, on the morning of Friday 17th August the Japanese duo of Kasumi Ishiwaka and Mima Ito kept their hopes retaining their title alive at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte.

They recorded quarter and semi-final wins but they were most hard earned, five games in both contests were the order of the day.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

At the quarter-final stage, the no.3 seeds, they accounted for China’s Chen Ke and Wang Yidi, the no.7 seeds (11-9, 9-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6), prior to securing their place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to colleagues, Hina Hayata and Miu Hirano, the no.2 seeds (7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3).

Impressively, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito had beaten the host nation’s Kalina Hristova and Ivet Lieva, the no.8 seeds (11-6, 11-1, 12-10) to reserve their place in the penultimate round.

Success for a highly seeded pair; in the opposite half of the draw it was very much the antithesis. Qualifiers, the Chinese pairing of Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui duly advanced.

They accounted for fellow qualifiers Germany’s Nina Mittelham and Sabine Winter (11-3, 11-13, 11-6, 12-10) prior to ousting Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato, the top seeds and winners earlier this year at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments in both Croatia and Spain, to reserve their place in the final.

Most impressively, Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui, comfortable against the defensive art, emerged successful in three straight games (11-9, 11-7, 11-7). In the round of the last eight, Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato had ended the progress of Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska- Franc and Natalia Partyka (9-11, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8).

The final is scheduled to commence at 1.00 pm (local time) on Sunday 12th August.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Bulgaria Open Mima Ito Kasumi Ishikawa

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Day 4 - 2018 Seamaster ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open

Match Highlights