[ITTF] Review Day One: First places for top four names but day belongs to Dina Meshref

Four groups in the initial phase of proceedings on Friday 17th October, the opening day of play at the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals in Markham, Toronto; finish in the first two places and progress to join the top eight seeds in the main draw was secured, end the day in third position and it was elimination.

Focused, the leading names on duty all progressed as status advised but there was one surprise; against the odds Egypt’s Dina Meshref a reserved main draw place.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

The no.18 seed, she finished behind Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.12 seed but ahead of Germany’s Sabine Winter, the no.15 seed.

Korea’s Suh Hyowon, Hungary’s Georgina Pota, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Austria’s Liu Jia duly topped their respective groups as status advised, they were the highest rated on first day duty.

Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm, Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching and Canada’s Zhang Mo reserved second positions as status advised.

Group A

1. Suh Hyowon (Korea) 2. Zhang Mo (Canada) 3. Lily Zhang (United States)

The no.9 seed and highest rated player on duty in the initial phase of proceedings, Suh Hyowon duly emerged in first place in the group as predicted. Combining defence with controlled attacking play, she accounted for Lily Zhang, the no.17 seed (11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-7), prior to overcoming Zhang Mo, the no.16 seed (11-9, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).

Second place finished in the hands of Zhang Mo but only just; in the closest contest of the day the overcame Lily Zhang (12-10, 11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7)

Group B

1. Georgina Pota (Hungary) 2. Matilda Ekholm (Sweden) 3. Jian Fang Lay (Australia)

A five games success was the order of proceedings as Georgina Pota, the no.10 seed, overcame Jian Fang Lay, the no.19 seed (11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 14-12) in her opening contest, prior to reserving first place in the group by accounting for Matilda Ekholm (11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-0) a player who is no stranger to the 32 year Hungarian; they are regular Women’s Doubles partners on the international scene.

Defeat for Matilda Ekholm but in the contest to decide a place in the main draw, the controlled top spin play of the Swede prevailed; more time to execute her strokes than against her doubles partner, she beat Jian Fang Lay in straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-8).

Group C

1. Chen Szu-Yu (Chinese Taipei) 2. Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong) 3. Paulina Vega (Chile)

A first appearance in the Women’s World Cup, Chen Szu-Yu, the no.11 seed, could hardly have been more impressive. She beat Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.20 seed and likewise on debut, in four straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3), before overcoming Lee Ho Ching, the no.13 seed, in a very similar fashion (11-9, 13-11, 11-9, 11-3).

Runners up spot duly finished in the hands of Lee Ho Ching, she overcame Paulina Vega in straight games (11-7, 11-2, 11-2, 11-8).

Group D

1. Liu Jia (Austria) 2. Dina Meshref (Egypt) 3. Sabine Winter (Germany)

Competing in no less than her 12th Women’s World Cup and thus equalling the record of Hong Kong’s Tie Yana; Liu Jia, the no.12 seed, underlined the fact that experience counts. In her opening contest she beat Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.18 seed (11-7, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5), prior to securing top place in her group by defeating Germany’s Sabine Winter, the no.15 seed (11-3, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

Top place as anticipated for Liu Jia but pride of place went to Dina Meshref; she beat Sabine Winter (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3) to secure her place in the main draw of the Women’s World Cup for the third consecutive year, the only player from Africa ever to achieve the feat.