// Preview Day Three: Retaining title, monumental task - International Table Tennis Federation

Tournaments

18 Aug 2018

Retaining an international title, it is always a difficult task, for last year’s winner, as well as successful in 2015, the inaugural year; for Kasumi Ishikawa, at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte, the task could not possibly be more difficult.

On Saturday 18th August, at the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event, the 25 year old left hander, the top seed, meets another left hander, a player three years her senior. She faces the no.6 seed, China’s redoubtable Ding Ning, the reigning Olympic and World champion.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

It is a prodigious task and, for the winner, could yet another Chinese left hander with Olympic credentials await. Also in the top half of the draw is Liu Gaoyang, the gold medallist at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games but required to qualify in Panagyurishte. She faces a player hoping to tread in her footsteps. She confronts Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed.

Miu Hirano is the Japanese selection for the forthcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games due to start in just over six weeks.

An intriguing test for Miu Hirano, in the opposite half of the draw where the semi-finalists are known an equally absorbing confrontation awaits. Colleague, Hitomi Sato opposes Wang Yidi, like Liu Gaoyang from China and a qualifier.

Captivating contests, in the Men’s Singles event the enthralling question is as to whether China’s Zheng Peifeng and Ma Te, both qualifiers can continue their paths of destruction.

Zheng Peifeng meets Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira, the no.7 seed and runner up both in 2015 and 2017. Awaiting the winner, is either, 42 year old Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.10 seed or 15 year old Tomokazu Harimoto, like Kenta Matsudaira from Japan and the no.4 seed.

Meanwhile, in the lower half of the Men’s Singles draw Ma Te opposes fellow qualifier, Austria’s Daniel Habesohn; China Xu Xin, the no.2 seed, now favourite for gold, confronts Japan’s Kokin Niwa, the no.5 seed.

A fascinating day lies ahead.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Bulgaria Open Kasumi Ishikawa
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