A place in the main draw two years ago in Sendai, the first player from Africa to accomplish the feat in the history of the competition, the achievement repeated one year ago in Philadelphia; Egypt’s Dina Meshref made it three in a row in Markham, Toronto.
On the evening of Friday 27th October, at the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals, against the odds, the no.18 seed, she beat Germany’s Sabine Winter, the no.15 seed, in four straight games (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3) to reserve second place in the group and thus once again a passport to the main draw.
by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Secure from the backhand, playing at a high tempo, confident in counter attacking rallies, Dina Meshref never let her German opponent settle into the fluent rhythm for which she is known.
The first three games secured, after in each instance establishing early leads, in the fourth it was very much the same. Dina Meshref won the first three points; somewhat in desperation Sabine Winter called “Time Out”, it was to no avail. The 23 year old from Cairo, increasingly confident and not taking her foot off the accelerator increased her advantage to 10-2; eight match points, one was saved but there was to be no monumental recovery, Dina Meshref won the next point and closed the door.
Success for Dina Meshref; as matters concluded on the opening day of play it was success for the host nation. Zhang Mo, the no.16 seed, overcame Lily Zhang, the no.17 seed, and thus reversed the decision of earlier in the year when at the 2017 ITTF Pan American Cup in San José, Costa Rica, in the final she had experienced defeat.
However, it was mightily close, in fact the closest contest of the day, the only engagement to require the full seven games.
After winning the opening two games but then losing the next three, Zhang Mo levelled matters to force a seventh game. In the decider she made the ideal start, she won the first three points. Lily Zhang called “Time Out” but promptly lost the next three points.
Maintaining her poise and focus she reduced the arrears to 7-4; Zhang Mo called “Time Out”; once again at 9-7 in favour of the Canadian the outcome was in the balance. Resolute, Zhang Mo secured the next two points (12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7) victory was secured.
Success and for the first time in four Women’s World Cup appearances, the initial phase was negotiated, a step forward on home soil for Zhang Mo.
Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals: Latest Results