01 Nov 2018

Asian players in the ascendancy; as proceedings came to a conclusion on Thursday 1st November in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm, there was one shining light for Europe.

In the lower half of the draw, Germany’s Petrissa Solja was not only the one player to keep the hopes of the old continent alive, she was the one player to cause an upset; most impressively she beat Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.9 seed, in five games (14-12, 11-1, 11-9, 13-15, 11-9).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

It was without a shadow of a doubt her best performance of the tournament to date; after winning a close opening game, her confidence clearly rose, the striking fact being her very effective return of service with the backhand.

“I was able to attack her services; against Miu you must always play with good quality, anything weak and she will take the opportunity. In the fourth game I had two match points, I lost both; I tried to put that out of my mind and make sure that in the fifth game I was really focused. The match was about service and receive but in rallies I did feel confident. Actually, I’m improving as the tournament progresses and returning service much better, in my first match in the qualification I made mistake after mistake returning service.” Petrissa Solja

The player to cause the problems in the opening qualification round was Brazil’s Jessica Yamada, a six games win from a two games to one deficit was the outcome (11-4, 10-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3).

Defeat for Japan but there was notable success and an air of revenge; Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.4 seed, beat colleague Honoka Hashimoto (10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8) but the significant result was the win recorded by Mima Ito, the no.7 seed, in opposition to the Chinese pen-holder Zhang Qiang. Mima Ito won in five games (11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 11-3, 11-6) and thus avenged the defeat experienced in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Australian Open.

“Last time when we met I lost. Today I focused on the match and I enjoyed every step and every point. I tried to impose my game. I’m very satisfied to win after losing the previous time.” Mima Ito

The end of the road for Zhang Qiang but not for colleagues Liu Shiwen, Ding Ning and Chen Xingtong; all imposed their authority on proceedings. Liu Shiwen, the no.2 seed, beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam (11-6, 11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-8), Ding Ning, the no.6 seed, accounted for colleague Wang Yidi (12-10, 11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 8-11, 11-5) in a repeat result of the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Bulgaria Open final earlier this year in August. Meanwhile, in an equally impressive manner, Chen Xingtong, the no.10 seed, ended the hopes of Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee (11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Wins as anticipated, in the two remaining contests to complete the lower half of the draw, it was mixed fortunes for Hong Kong. Lee Ho Ching beat Linda Bergström, the no.16 seed, the place for the host nation player (11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8); Minnie Soo Wai Yam experienced defeat at the hands of Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.11 seed (11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 11-3).

The second round of the Women’s Singles event will be played on Friday 2nd November.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Swedish Open Petrissa Solja

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