24 Aug 2018

Intent on retaining the title won one year ago in Olomouc, on the evening of Friday 24th August, Japan’s Mima Ito kept her hopes very much alive of repeating the success.

In the second round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open, she accounted for China’s Liu Gaoyang, a player who had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament but the previous week had advanced to the semi-finals in Bulgaria. Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, won in five games (11-9, 4-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Success against one aspiring Chinese player, in the opening round, it had been the same when beating Zhang Rui (11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9); now in the third round, yet another player from China awaits.

She faces an adversary from a different generation to Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui, she confronts 29 year old Wen Jia, the winner on the ITTF World Tour in 2011 in Shenzhen and two years later in Magdeburg. Fine performances but one wonders for the player who was the runner up in the Girls’ Singles event at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Cairo, is it all too late to force herself into reckoning for really major events on the calendar?

However, in Olomouc, in her second round match, she did give those responsible for team selection a few crumbs of food for thought; she beat fellow qualifier Portugal’s Fu Yu in four straight games (11-1, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3).

Statistically against Wen Jia, Mima Ito is the favourite; in fact, if statistics won matches she can book her place in the final right now! In the lower half of the draw, she is the only seeded player remaining!

The one other possibility of a seed progressing was ended by Germany’s Sabine Winter, comfortable again defence, she beat Poland’s Li Qian, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8) and thus repeated the success of earlier this year when she had prevailed at the Europe Top 16 tournament in Montreux.

Now just as when Mima Ito completes her third round contest she will have faced three Chinese players, so Sabine Winter will have confronted a trilogy of defenders. In the opening round she beat Japan’s Hitomi Sato, the no.4 seed (11-7, 8-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-4); she now faces China’s Wu Yang, arguably in the current era the best backspin artiste of them all. In her second round duel she beat colleague Sun Mingyang (11-8, 11-7, 11-3, 11-9).

Both the quarter and semi-finals of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Saturday 25th August.

World Tour 2018 Czech Junior & Cadet Open Mima Ito Liu Gaoyang

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Czech Open

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