by Ian Marshall
The 16-year-old, the lowest rated player in her initial stage group, beat Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus, the no.14 seed (6-11, 11-6, 12-10, 3-11, 11-8) to conclude her first phase matches unbeaten.
A place in the main draw secured, she continued her good form to overcome Denmark’s Mie Skov (11-7, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-4), a player returning to international duty after a break of some eight years. Notably, the now 34-year-old competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“She is a very experienced player and whatever I did I was struggling to finish the points. She never gave up! I had a problem with the return of the service and when that part improved I managed to slow down the game. Skov is playing with great speed and I needed to slow her down in order to win.” Prithika Pavade
Defeat for Nadezhda Bogdanova, the highest rated player in the group, meant third place and farewell. In an event where only first and second group places ensured progress, it was the same for Great Britain’s Tin-Tin Ho, the no.11 seed who was likewise predicted to reach the second stage.
Upsetting the odds
Conversely, Turkey’s Sibel Altinkaya, Ukraine’s Solomiya Brateyko and Charlotte Carey of Great Britain upset the odds; they commenced play the third highest listed in their respective groups, all remained unbeaten and duly advanced directly to round two.
Likewise, Sweden’s Christina Källberg, Bulgaria’s Polina Trifnova and Slovenia’s Katarina Strazar advanced to the second round contrary to expectations.
They commenced play the lowest ranked in their respective groups, finished in second positions, secured main draw places and duly responded. In the opening round Christina Källberg beat Serbia’s Sabina Surjan (11-7, 5-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7), Polina Trifonova ousted Croatia’s Mateja Jeger (9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8), Katarina Strazar overcame Switzerland’s Rachel Moret (13-11, 17-15, 11-6, 8-11, 3-11, 11-7).
Notably, Moret, the no.10 seed, was one of two prominent round one casualties. Spain’s Galia Dvorak, the no.8 seed, was beaten by Daria Trigolos of Belarus, the no.13 seed (11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8); Italy’s Debora Vivarelli, the no.5 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Yuan Jia Nan of France, the no.9 seed (11-5, 5-11, 11-1, 11-5, 13-11). Earlier Debora Vivarelli had finished in second position in her group.
Surprises as play advanced to the second round of the women’s singles event; it was the same for the men; pride of place going to Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki. The fourth and lowest rated player in his group he remained unbeaten to secure top spot and a direct entry to round two.
An unexpected place in the last 16, it was the same for Aleksandr Khanin of Belarus, Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko, Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen and Luxembourg’s Eric Glod.
All commenced play the third highest rated in their initial phase groups, all ended matters in first place, progressing directly to round two.
Progress against the odds and there was the reverse scenario. Finland’s Benedek Olah, the no.11 seed, Great Britain’s Sam Walker, the no.12 seed, and Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.6 seed, all players who commenced proceedings the top name in their groups, fell short.
Benedek Olah finished fourth place in his group, two steps below the qualification line; in round one Sam Walker was beaten by Romania’s Rares Sipos (11-6, 11-9, 11-9, 11-7), Ovidiu Ionescu by Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, the no.9 seed (11-8, 5-11, 10-12, 4-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-8).
Earlier both Lubomir Pistej and Ovidiu Ionescu had finished group runners up, Ovidiu Ionescu in dramatic fashion. In order to secure a runners up spot there was just one option, he needed Italy’s Mihai Bobocica to beat Spain’s Jesus Cantero and overcame Israel’s Tal Israeli in straight games; that is exactly what happened!
Bobocica accounted for Cantero (8-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-3); Ionescu overcame Israeli (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8).
Notably, in the men’s singles event, ten groups; of the highest rated only Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall and Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck remained unbeaten to secure first positions.
Now, the top four seeds enter the fray.
Judging by the opening two days, Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek, Panagiotis Gionis of Greece and Ukraine’s Kou Lei could face testing times in the men’s singles event as for the women, the same may well apply to the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, Russia’s Yana Noskova and Portugal’s Shao Jieni.
On the third day of action, two rounds of each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events await; at the close of play on Friday 23rd April, the semi-finalists will be known.