by Simon Daish
The four remaining Battle One contests were decided in the second session of the day and the action didn’t disappoint!
Lily Zhang 3-0 Petrissa Solja (11-5, 11-7, 11-8)
Lily Zhang clearly loves the big stage as she just continues to deliver big result after big result at prestigious events across the world, with her latest coming here in Macao.
Handed a difficult match-up with Germany’s Petrissa Solja who has found some encouraging form of late, Zhang more than rose to the occasion. Bursting into the match on the front foot, United States’ Zhang looked the more comfortable of the two in the opening exchanges, and while Solja managed to bridge the gap later in the proceedings it wasn’t enough to prevent a surprise defeat.
Liam Pitchford 3-1 Jang Woojin (9-11, 11-4, 11-10, 11-7)
Anticipated to be a close contest before a ball was even hit, England’s Liam Pitchford, no.9 seed, and Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin, no.10 seed, were two players in a rich vein of form.
With game one going to Jang, who recently struck bronze at the 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup, the Korean would have hoped to extend his advantage, but his English counterpart struck back immediately. A tight third game which was edged by a sudden death point handed Pitchford the momentum and he capitalised on it, coming away from the fixture with the win.
Doo Hoi Kem 3-2 Bernadette Szocs (11-7, 7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7)
Spectators also witnessed an absolute thriller play out between two continental giants during the session as Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem and Romania’s Bernadette Szocs put their abilities to the test.
Well acquainted with one another’s styles, Doo and Szocs endured a roller coaster of emotions throughout the course of their head-to-head. Twice it was Doo who took the lead and twice Szocs formed an immediate response to force a decider – both giving it their all, but only one could advance and in the end it was Doo who took the plaudits.
Fang Bo 3-1 Robert Gardos (11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7)
The first player representing China to secure a spot in Battle Two of the men’s singles event is none other than Fang Bo following his fine victory over Austria’s Robert Gardos.
Both players making their intentions known early in the match, there was nothing separating Fang and Gardos by the close of game two in what appeared to be a very open contest. However, Fang upped his performance and never looked back from that point on, deservedly moving through to the next phase of the draw with a 3-1 win.
What’s coming next?