19 Oct 2019

The day belonged to North America, the continent’s best ever performance in the tournament first staged in 1996 in Hong Kong.

At the Uncle Pop 2019 ITTF Women's World Cup in Chengdu, when play closed on the evening of Friday 18th October, Wu Yue and Zhang Mo of the United States alongside Canada’s Zhang Mo had all booked places in the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

It meant the previous best was tripled; under a different system when the main draw commenced with the quarter-finals as opposed to 16 players in the modern era, Canada’s Geng Lijuan progressed through the group phase in 1997 in Shanghai, as did Gao Jun of the United States in 2001 in Wuhu, 2003 in Hong Kong, 2005 in Guangzhou and 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.

Geng Lijuan advanced to the semi-finals but Gao Jun never progressed beyond the last eight. It is their standards that the modern day generation seeks to emulate. The only other occasion when a player from North America progressed through the initial group phase was under the modern day system in 2016 in Philadelphia. Lily Zhang was the player in question; she departed proceedings in round one.

Pick of the bunch

Wu Yue, crowned Pan American Games champion in 2015, was very much the pick of the bunch.

The no.17 seed, in her opening match of the day she accounted for Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.12 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-6, 18-16), prior to overcoming Zhang Mo, the no.14 seed (11-6, 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5) to secure top spot in the group. Sandwiched in between Zhang Mo beat Elizabeta Samara (5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 3-11, 11-9, 1-11, 11-9) and thus secured second position and progress to the main draw; for Elizabeta Samara it was third spot and thus elimination.

Lily Zhang

Second position and progress to the main draw, it was the same for Lily Zhang. The no.18 seed, she experienced defeat in her opening contest when facing Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.9 seed (11-9, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-3) but recovered to beat Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.15 seed (12-10, 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11) and thus secured runners up spot. Bernadette Szocs overcame Adriana Diaz and thus reserved first place (11-3, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2).

In the opening round Wu Yue faces Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.8 seed; Lily Zhang confronts Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed. For Zhang Mo. China’s Zhu Yuling, the top seed, is the adversary, for Bernadette Szocs, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.7 seed, awaits.

According to status

First place for Bernadette Szocs as status advised but a surprise second place; in the remaining groups matters finished according to status.

Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.10 seed, finished ahead of Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.16 seed and Poland’s Natalia Partyka, the no.19 seed; for Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.11 seed, it was first position ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.13 seed and Australia’s Jian Fang Lay, the no.20 seed.

Crucially, in the contest to determine second positon, Dina Meshref was extended to six games by Natalia Partyka (11-7, 11-5, 12-14, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5); meanwhile Petrissa Solja almost came to grief when opposing Jian Fang Lay, she needed the full seven games to secure victory (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4).

Opening round

In the opening round Jeon Jihee faces Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.5 seed, Dina Meshref opposes Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.3 seed; in a similar vein Petrissa Solja confronts Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.6 seed, for Chen Szu-Yu, the adversary is China’s Liu Shiwen.

The first round and quarter-final matches will be played on Saturday 19th October.

World Cup 2019 Uncle Pop Women's World Cup Lily Zhang Zhang Mo Wu Yue

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Day 3 - Uncle Pop 2019 ITTF Women's World Cup