by Ian Marshall, Editor
Are we looking at the World champion of 2025, the Olympic Games gold medallist of 2028?
Likewise, left handed, in 2005 Ding Ning was crowned world junior champion, in 2011 she won the first of her three World Championships women’s singles titles, in 2012 in London she reached the Olympic Games final, in 2016 she struck gold in Rio de Janeiro.
The leading name in the qualification tournament, on the last day of play, after accounting for Japan’s Yua Yamasaki (11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3) and Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Yi-Chen, Kuai Man overcame colleagues, Yuan Yuan (8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8) and Shi Xunyao, the top seed (4-11, 9-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-8) to arrest the title.
Notably, Yuan Yuan had very much paved the way; likewise a qualifier, she had recorded a third round win against Italy’s Jamila Laurenti, the no.3 seed (7-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4), prior to ousting colleague, Chen Yi, the no.6 seed (11-6, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7).
Impressive from both Kuai Man and Yuan Yuan; in the opposite half of the draw it was equally impressive from Shi Xunyao. In the later rounds, she beat Japan’s Yuka Aoki (11-7, 12-14, 11-7, 11-4, 11-0), before overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsiu-Ting, the no.12 seed (11-4, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1) and Isa Cok of France, the no.13 seed (11-2, 11-5, 11-9, 11-3) to arrest the title.
Success for Kuai Man in the junior girls’ singles final, earlier in the day it had been the same outcome in the cadet girls’ singles final, a contest in which there was an air of revenge. The top seed, in March she had lost to colleague, Chen Yi, the no.2 seed, in the final in Italy; in Bangkok she reversed the decision but only just. She prevailed by the very narrowest of margins (3-11, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9).
Earlier in the day Kuai Man had beaten Malamentina Papadimitriou of Greece, the no.12 seed (11-4, 11-4, 11-5), followed by success against Japan’s An Naoe (11-8, 11-3, 11-8) and the Korea Republic’s Lee Yeonhui (11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7). In the opposite half of the draw, Chen Yi had ousted Anna Hursey of Wales, the no.11 seed (11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6) and Chinese Taipei’s Tsai Yun-En, the no.8 seed (11-6, 11-13, 13-11, 11-5), prior to overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Pu-Syuan (12-10, 11-3, 11-2).
Notably, both bronze medallists, Lee Yeonhui and Cheng Pu-Syuan had been required to compete in the qualification tournament and were not listed amongst the top 16 seeds.
Success for Kuai Man; in the hopes girls’ singles event it was success for Egypt’s Hana Goda. The leading name on duty, after accounting for Thailand’s Khemisarar Derujijaroen (11-3, 2-11, 11-3, 11-2), she overcame Hong Kong’s Sammi Lae Sum Yee (11-6, 11-7, 11-6) to secure the top prize. In the adjacent semi-final, Sammi Lae Sum Yee had beaten India’s Sayani Panda (11-5, 11-3, 14-12).
Now a two day break, in Bangkok the next event on the calendar is the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open, on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, the Polish Junior and Cadet Open; both tournaments start on Wednesday 22nd May.