by Simon Daish
Named the top seeded entry for the event, Matelova was the player to beat in Guimarães, and so French teenager Prithika Pavade, 16, rose to the challenge: recovering from an early deficit the no.34 seed pulled off a fine six-game win (7-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9) to extend her impressive run.
Defeat for the ranked favourite and it was the same for second seed Barbora Balazova, also losing out to French opposition in ninth seeded Yuan Jia Nan (18-16, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9). There was better news, however, for the third and fourth seeds as Russia’s Yana Noskova and the host nation’s very own Shao Jieni needed just the four games in their respective encounters with Belarus’ Daria Trigolos (11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 11-6) and Bulgaria’s Polina Trifonova (11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7).
Solomiya Brateyko also enjoyed her spell in the spotlight as she upstaged higher seeded opposition. The no.28 seed from Ukraine met face-to-face with Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin, seeded 11 positions higher, fighting back from two games down to earn her place in the quarter-finals (6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9). Spain’s Maria Xiao, Great Britain’s Charlotte Carey and Sweden’s Christina Källberg also progress.
The upsets weren’t just limited to the women’s event with plenty of talking points from the last 16 of the men’s singles draw.
Austria’s Daniel Habesohn, who entered play as the highest seeded player on duty, suffered defeat in his opening match with Romanian no.20 seed Rares Sipos prevailing by a resounding 4-1 margin (11-13, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8). However, unlike the women’s event before it, there was no Round of 16 elimination for the no.2 seeded player as Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek held strong against Luxembourg’s Eric Glod (15-13, 11-5, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10).
“Daniel had a much better start. He had the control at the beginning with his service game. It took time before I managed to find the game for him. I needed to calm down and to try to ease the pressure.” Rares Sipos
Fourth seed Kou Lei couldn’t have asked for a better start to his campaign with the Ukraine representative brushing aside Belgian no.10 seed Cedric Nuytinck in straight games (14-12, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12). But, the same couldn’t be said for Greece’s Panagiotis Gionis, seeded third, who suffered at the hands of Spain’s Alvaro Robles (2-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6).
Elsewhere, young Russian talent Vladimir Sidorenko picked up another encouraging result in Guimarães, his latest scalp a stunning 4-0 victory over Slovak no.9 seed Lubomir Pistej (11-3, 11-9, 14-12, 11-6), while Great Britain’s Paul Drinkhall, Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen and Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki also met the criteria to secure their passage to the next round.
Shock departures throughout the two events, the defeated players will have to go again in the second knock-out tournament with no more room for error!