15 Nov 2018

Successful on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, the winner earlier in the Sweden and in 2017 crowned Asian Cadet Girls’ Singles champion in Asan, Yumeno Soma was very much the player to attract the attention as proceedings commenced in the Women’s Singles event at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open in Minsk on Thursday 15th November.

The 16 year old, required to compete in the two day preceding qualification tournament, accounted for Korea Republic’s Lee Eunhye, the no.24 seed; not only did the teenager upset the order of merit, she upset the order in a most emphatic manner. She prevailed in four straight games, none close (11-3, 11-6, 11-5, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

It is a result that not only reflects the quite astounding depth of talent which currently exists amongst young female players in the Land of the Rising Sun. It also reflects the progress being made by Yumeno Soma; Lee Eunhye was no mean adversary and has a liking for Minsk.

In 2013, in the Belarus capital city, she was a Women’s Singles quarter-finalist; also on that occasion she secured the Under 21 Women’s Singles title. Later at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments, she was a Women’s Singles quarter-finalist in Slovenia; significantly, on the ITTF World Tour she reached the same round in 2015 in Australia but more pertinently also this year in Hong Kong.

Disappointment for the Korea Republic but there was the reverse scenario in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event; very much new to the international scene, safely through the qualification stage, Lee Yeongeun accounted for Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin (13-15, 11-8, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8), Kim Mingyung beat the Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova (9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7),

Wins against the odds and as matters commenced there were two more; again the Czech Republic involved. Dana Cechova, the no.16 seed, was beaten by Russia’s Maria Dolgikh (12-10, 11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), a quarter-finalist ten years ago in 2008 in Minsk; conversely, Katerina Tomanovska ended the hopes of Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova (11-6, 6-11, 11-2, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6).

Surprises but not amongst the leading names on duty as matters commenced; Canada’s Zhang Mo, the top seed, beat Poland’s Julia Szmczak (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4), Luxembourg’s Ni Xia Lian, the no.7 seed, overcame Turkey’s Sibel Alyinkaya (11-1, 11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Challenge Series 2018 Belarus Open Yumeno Soma

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Day 4 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open