08 Nov 2018

Runners up four days ago in Stockholm, in Linz just as in Sweden’s capital city required to compete in the qualification tournament, China’s Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui continued to upset the odds on Thursday 8th November.

In the opening round of the Women’s Doubles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open, they accounted for Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.4 seeds (12-10, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A significant win, not only in the fact that the order of merit was upset; also in the fact that that an invitation to the Grand Finals next month in Incheon is now guaranteed. Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui, by competing in Austria have now met the four appearance criteria and currently occupy fifth place (438 points).

Conversely, Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, have to wait.

Presently, they are in eighth position with regards to eligible pairs for the Grand Finals (277 points). The pairs who can theoretically dampen their aspirations are those of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova; the no.6 seeds, in addition to qualifiers, Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs.

In the opening round in Linz, by the very narrowest of margins, Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova ended the hopes of India’s Manika Batra and Archana Girish Kamath (12-10, 10-12, 11-13, 11-9, 12-10); Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs overcame the combination of Russia’s Yana Noskova and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova (9-11, 11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5).

“We knew before; it will be a tough match with a 50:50 chance. The game was absolutely open but in the beginning of last set we lost concentration. They got an early lead, but we were not able to come back in the game.” Sofia Polcanova

However, if Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova who started the day down the order (102 points) are to gain the precious eighth place, like Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs (82 points), they must win the event.

Alas for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu and Liu Hsing-Yin, hopes are now dashed; in terms of eligible partnerships for the Grand Finals, the no.7 seeds, following their loss at the hands of Poland’s Katarzyna Grzybowska-Franc and Natalia Partyka (11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8), they occupy ninth place (202 points), one rung below the border line.

Similar to Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.3 seeds, following their success against Germany’s Kristin Lang and Nina Mittelham (11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6) are assured of an invitation to Incheon. They now occupy sixth position (345 points).

Meanwhile, for the remaining pairs, all having guaranteed their invitations to the Grand Finals, prior to play commencing in Linz, it was success in the Women’s Doubles opening round in Linz.

Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the top seeds, beat Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel (11-3, 11-7, 11-8), Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.2 seeds, accounted for Germany’s Petrissa Solja and Sabine Winter (11-4, 11-9, 11-6). Not to be left out, China’s Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha, the no.5 seeds and the pair at the top of the Standings (788 points) overcame the partnership formed by Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota (11-9, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8).

The quarter and semi-finals of the Women’s Doubles event will be played on Friday 9th November.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Austria Open Zhang Rui Liu Gaoyang

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Qualification Day 1 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Liebherr Austrian Open