31 Oct 2018

Successful four days ago at the ITTF Challenge Belgium Open, Japan’s Saki Shibata maintained her form on Wednesday 31st October in Stockholm; she reserved her place in the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open by emerging successful in the Eriksdalshallen in the qualification tournament.

Furthermore, she progressed by overcoming players of a very high standard; it was no easy path.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Such is the reputation of China, beating a player from that country is an achievement that hits the news; Saki Shibata accounted for not one but two.

Having beaten Wu Yang, the previous day (11-9, 11-5, 11-9, 2-11, 11-7), she overcame Zhang Rui (9-11, 11-5, 10-12, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8) to reserve her main draw place.

“I played well and won in Belgium, I am pleased with my performance today, in forehand top spin rallies I felt confident.” Saki Shibata.

Defeat for one Chinese player and against foreign opposition there was defeat for one more; in a contest that placed high demands on patience, Germany’s Han Ying eventually overcame He Zhuoija (15-13, 8-11, 14-12, 8-11, 12-10, 11-4). Long points, difficult for He Zhuojia to penetrate the defensive skills of Han Ying, the Expedite Rule was needed; a situation that surely favoured He Zhuojia being the attacking player. Also, using medium length pimpled rubber on the backhand, she is different to the norm.

“At the start I was a bit confused; I decided when receiving service not to just rely on defence but to play normally. I use short pimples on the backhand, so I didn’t experience great problems when she played from the backhand; also using that surface you can attack, I looked for the chances to put pressure on her.” Han Ying

Success and a hard fought success; arguably it was even harder for DPR Korea’s Kim Song I, Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam. All needed the full seven games to secure victory.

The defensive skills of Kim Song I eventually broke the resilience of Portugal’s Fu Yu (11-9, 8-11, 11-1, 11-13, 11-6, 8-11, 11-1); Jeo Jihee overcame Singapore’s Yu Mengyu (11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9). Similarly, Minnie Soo Wai Yam eventually gained the verdict in opposition to Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu (11-8, 9-11, 11-2, 12-10, 4-11, 6-11, 11-7).

Meanwhile, as matters concluded in the qualification stage of the Women’s Doubles event, the principal pairs emerged successful without due alarm.

The combination of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova accounted for Oceane Guisnel and Stéphanie Loeuillette of France (11-3, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8); similarly, DPR Korea’s Kim Song I and Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon ended the hopes of the European formation comprising Slovenia’s Alex Galic and Switzerland’s Rachel Moret (11-8, 11-6, 11-4).

However, there was one close call; China’s Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui needed the full five games to end the hopes of Japan’s Miyu Nagasaki and Satsuki Odo.

The main draw commences on Thursday 1st November.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Swedish Open Saki Shibata

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