by Ian Marshall, Editor
New to the scene, not at all, a major surprise, not at all; now 29 years old, Elena Kuzmina has been on international duty throughout most of the current century, the lady who shares her birthday with the likes of Austria’s Liu Jia and China’s Zhang Jike is the former Elena Troshneva. Always competitive, she is a player of note, pertinently in 2008 in Macao she was on duty in the Under 21 Women’s Singles event at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
Success for Russia and as play in the top half of the Women’s Singles draw came to a conclusion there was more success for the country than spans no less than eleven time zones. Polina Mikhailova, the no.6 seed and the winner in 2012 in Minsk when beating the host nation’s Alexandra Privalova in the final, accounted for Japan’s 13 year old Haruna Ojio (10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 14-12, 11-3); Yana Noskova, the no.12 seed, eventually overcame a potentially most difficult adversary in the guise of China’s He Aige (11-6, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 8-11, 7-11, 11-7).
Defeat for one young aspiring player from Japan but there was success for the Land of the Rising Sun. Miyu Kato, the no.4 seed, beat Finland’s Anna Kirichenko (11-3, 11-3, 11-9, 11-7); Sakura Mori, the no.19 seed, accounted for Croatia’s Sun Jiayi (11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 11-7).
Noteworthy performances but pride of place went to 17 year old colleague Miku Izumo, quarter-finalist earlier this year at the 2018 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Myanmar; required to compete in the qualification tournament, she caused the host nation heartache. She beat Alina Nikitchanka, the no.32 seed (10-12, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-7).
The lower half of the draw follows immediately.