by Ian Marshall
Notably it was her first-ever meeting on the international stage against the Ukrainian, a situation that was marginally different from her encounter against the defensive skills of Polina Mikhailova.
Suthasini Sawettabut had met the Russian on one prior occasion at international level, coincidentally in Qatar. They drew swords in the second round of the women’s singles event at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open; on that occasion Suthasini Sawettabut had succeeded in seven games (10-12, 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11) prior to losing to Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-1, 11-4).
Susthasini Sawettabut now meets Spain’s Maria Xiao, the no.13 seed, to determine the remaining Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles place.
Maria Xiao reserved her place in the final courtesy of success in opposition to colleague Galia Dvorak, the no.16 seed (3-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3). The previous day in a contest even closer than that between Suthsasini Sawettabut and Polina Mikhailova, Maria Xiao had lost by the minimal margin to Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.9 seed (14-12, 8-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-3, 9-11, 12-10).
Despite representing the same national association, it was the first time Maria Xiao and Galia Dvorak had encountered each other at international level.
The final match will be played on Wednesday 17th March.