by Simon Daish
The first-ever session of WTT action played host to four Battle One encounters as players ranked outside the top eight met face-to-face on an unforgettable morning in Macao.
Gustavo Tsuboi 3-1 Zhao Zihao (4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8)
Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi pulled off a big upset in the session after successfully negotiating a tricky affair against Zhao Zihao.
Early signs looked promising for the 23-year-old from China with game one going in his favour, but Zhao had experienced less time on the international scene than his opponent in recent weeks and it soon began to show. Tsuboi only grew from strength to strength as the match progressed, and after four games it was the Latin American who took the honours!
Wong Chun Ting 3-2 Ahmed Saleh (8-11, 11-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9)
We were very nearly treated to another giant slaying in the men’s singles race as Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh came to within inches of a shock victory over Hong Kong China’s Wong Chun Ting.
Seeded four positions lower than his opponent, Saleh really put it all on the line with one of his finest showings to date, and was unlucky not to establish an early two-game lead. However, there’s a reason Wong has been regarded one of the sport’s very best for many years now and he showed exactly why, standing firm in the face of pressure to edge to a narrow win.
Liu Weishan 3-1 Suh Hyowon (6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3)
The lowest seeded player in the women’s singles draw but that hasn’t stopped China’s Liu Weishan from turning up the heat in Macao!
Making her first appearance in international action since 2019, Liu took a little time to get up to speed in her opening round contest, with Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon taking the early initiative. Keen to impress, Liu eventually wore down the Korean defender in four games to seal her ticket to Battle Two.
Jeon Jihee 3-0 Adriana Diaz (11-6, 11-2, 11-8)
Defeat for one of Korea Republic’s hopefuls but it was joy for another as Jeon Jihee enjoyed a winning start to her WTT journey.
Facing Adriana Diaz for a place in Battle Two, Jeon showed her Zen-like calm from minute one of the match with the result never in doubt. Not to be for the young Puerto Rican on this occasion, but Diaz undoubtedly has bright days ahead on the WTT stage.
What’s coming next?