by Simon Daish
Presented with her toughest challenge yet, Trifonova produced a sublime performance to stun Great British no.11 seed Tin-Tin Ho 4-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-6, 18-16). A commendable runner-up finish for Trifonova, however, top spot in Group H is reserved for Serbia’s Sabina Surjan following her 4-3 victory over Slovenia’s Ana Tofant (11-5, 5-11, 9-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7).
Seeded three positions below Tin-Tin Ho, Belarus’ Nadezhda Bogdanova also suffered elimination at the first hurdle: the no.14 seed was well beaten in her closing Group I encounter, losing out to French no.34 seed Prithika Pavade (6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8) who moves through alongside Czech Republic’s Karin Adamkova.
Two experienced heads who have seen it all on the international stage, Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, 44, and Denmark’s Mie Skov, 34, both kept their qualification hopes alive after ensuring safe passage to the knock-out draw.
Paskauskiene, who made her Olympic Games debut at Atlanta 1996, is dreaming of her fourth appearance at the event, fighting back from three games down to beat Bulgarian no.19 seed Maria Yovkova to the Group E runner-up spot (6-11, 4-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8). Meanwhile, Denmark’s Skov, seeded 39th, earnt second position in Group F following her six-game victory over Izabela Lupulesku (11-6, 4-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7), a result which sees the no.12 seed from Serbia depart.
Notable names in trouble, the fate of Italy’s Debora Vivarelli, Luxembourg’s Sarah De Nutte and Spain’s Galia Dvorak, seeded fifth, seventh and eighth respectively, was out of their hands. But, luckily for the trio, results elsewhere went their way!
A second win for Great Britain’s Charlotte Carey, who accounted for Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova (12-10, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 13-11), prevented the latter player from leapfrogging Vivarelli in Group B. Sibel Altinkaya will be in De Nutte’s good books with the Turkish player besting Greek rival Aikaterini Toliou in Group A (11-8, 11-8, 8-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9), while Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko powered past Belgium’s Nathalie Marchetti (11-7, 11-4, 12-10, 11-8) to see Dvorak squeeze through Group D.