by Simon Daish
The highest seeded Austrian in the Women’s Singles event, Sofia Polcanova has been placed in the lower section of the draw where a major test awaits. Sun Yingsha, 18, is one of China’s most exciting young prospects who is well known for her ferocious pace but Polcanova also has a few tricks up her sleeve and will have the added benefit of the home supporters willing her on.
Suffering a surprise Round of 32 exit at the recent Seamaster 2018 Swedish Open, Japan’s Miu Hirano is hoping for a stronger performance in Linz. The ninth seed takes on fellow compatriot Hina Hayata for the eighth time on the ITTF World Tour – Hirano currently leads the head-to-head ratio against Hayata 4-3, will she extend it to five wins on Day One?
In the upper half of the draw Romanian star Bernadette Szocs meets Japanese defender Hitomi Sato for the first time since in two years while no.5 seed Chen Meng faces an opening round encounter with Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kim Song I.
— ITTF World (@ittfworld) November 7, 2018
Seeded first at last week’s ITTF World Tour event in the Swedish city of Stockholm, China’s Fan Zhendong once again enters the Men’s Singles competition at the summit of the draw where he will meet Italian qualifier Niagol Stoyanov.
Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, seeded fourth, also contests the upper half of the draw, beginning his campaign against Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju while Jang Woojin is eyeing up revenge against fellow Korean Lee Sangsu, who emerged victorious in their previous meeting at the Seamaster 2018 China Open in June.
One of the standout players involved in qualification, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran will be looking to take his impressive form into the main draw but can he pick up his biggest scalp so far in Linz and eliminate Portuguese star Marcos Freitas in the Round of 32? Second seed Xu Xin has been handed an opening round contest with fellow Chinese representative Liu Dingshuo and there is also an all-German fixture between Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska to look forward to.
Day One will also feature Round of 16 action from the Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles tournaments.