Japan according to plan
As expected, the Japan vs. Japan matchups have left the seeded players standing. No. 3 Miu Hirano had an easy half-hour session against Ayami Narumoto that reuslted in a 4-0 victory (11-9, 11-9, 11-2, 11-7), while no. 13 Honoka Hashimoto defeated Miyuu Kihara 4-3 despite a slow start in a more protracted contest (3-11, 16-14, 11-8, 9-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5). No. 12 Miyu Kato is out, however, falling 1-4 to China’s Liu Weishan.
Ishikawa sruvives Taipei challenge
That was something of a nail-biter for Kasumi Ishikawa: the defending women’s champion in Olomouc was nearly upset by the unseeded Cheng Hsein-Tzu of Chinese Taipei, who led 3-2 before Ishikawa pulled away during the final two games, allowing Chen just three points as she surged to a 4-3 victory to stay alive in the first round of the main draw (11-7, 7-11, 8-11, 11-2, 6-11, 11-1, 11-2). The top seed in this tournament and one of the big hopes to become Japan’s first women’s singles winner on the ITTF World Tour this year, Ishikawa has lived to fight another day.
Liu goes through, He stops Gu
Having fought her way through the preliminary rounds to the main draw, China’s Liu Xi sailed smoothly through her match with new Pan American Games champion Adriana Diaz, defeating the Puerto Rican 4-0 (11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9). Faced with He Zhuojia, top Chinese women’s seed in Olomouc, Gu Yuting had a harder time of it: down 0-3, the 24-year-old (and 2010 Youth Olympic champion) took two games off He before capitulating. He won 11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8.
Indian pair fall at first hurdle
Belgians Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet were in top form as they saw off Indian hopefuls Harmeet Desai and Manav Vikash Thakkar in straight games (11-7, 11-7, 11-7).
The match lasted exactly 19 minutes, where Allegro and Lambiet left the Indians no space to work with. Frenchmen Tristian Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson also showed no mercy against host nation’s Tomas Polansky and Pavel Sirucek, winning 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-8).
Asian powerhouses roll on
China’s Zhao Zihao and Zhu Linfeng needed five games to secure victory over their opponents from Chinese Taipei Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan, as they marched into the quarter-finals in Olomouc, mounting a magnificent comeback (11-13, 5-11, 11-5, 15-13, 11-9).
Following suit were Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Cho Daeseong who had a slightly easier time defeating Denmark’s Anders Lind and Tobias Rasmussen 3-1 (11-6, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7).
Home crowd rises for Matelova and Balazova
The Czech Republic-Slovakia pairing of Hana Matelova and Barbora Balazova gave the fans something to cheer about as they glided past their Croatian opponents Mateja Jeger and Sun Jiayi in a 3-0 victory (11-7, 11-5, 11-8).
On Table 2, the Diaz sisters from Puerto Rico could not stop the Korean Republic’s duo of Kim Hayeong and Lee Eunhye. Adriana and Melanie Diaz won the first game, but had no response once the comeback started to unfold for Lee and Kim (9-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-3).
Russians stumble, while the French march on
Yana Noskova and Olga Vorobera had simply too much to deal with when they faced Singaporeans Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu, who defeated the Russian pair in straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-6).
The match lasted no more than 8 minutes (!) as Lin & Yu seemed to be in a rush. In a surprise turn of events, France’s Stephanie Loeuillette and Audrey Zarif beat Chinese duo Qian Tianyi and Chen Xingtong. It took four fierce games to settle, but the European pair did just enough to move on to the quarter-finals (13-15, 11-9, 11-9, 12-10).
Dang & Nina battle through
German duo Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham had to dig deep in their first match of the tournament here in Olomouc, as they won against Slovakian pair Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova (11-8, 6-11, 11-5, 4-11, 15-13).
Lasting nearly 35 minutes, the match between the Europeans was fought till the end, with the final game lasting for 28 points. Meanwhile, a Japanese domestic ended with Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito seeing off Tomokazu Harimoto and Kasumi Ishikawa in straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-7).
“It is a huge win for us. We played against Pistej and Balazova at the 2019 World Championships in Budapest and we lost quite close 2-4. So today we knew that they are a really good pair but we also knew how they play. Pistej has a very unique style he is very dangerous in doubles. But we just played better today and we put more balls on the table. There was nothing special. But still, we saved one match point so it was very close.” – Qiu Dang and Nina Mittelham
Mixed start for Koreans
Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong and Shin Yubin had a difficult but winning start to the day, as they need all five games to beat French pair Tristian Flore and Laura Gasnier (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 6-11, 11-5).
It was an intensive battle from the start, with either pairing winning alternative games. This pattern fell into place for the Koreans, as they managed to close the decider. Sadly, their compatriots Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee could not do the same, as the top seeds lost out to an impressive showing by China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang (6-11, 11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 13-11).
“We are very happy that we won because it was very hard and long match. We played against Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee last week in Bulgaria so today they had a better idea about our play. But we also prepared well. In the first set they were faster than us so we could not attack so much. But then we attacked more and we won next two sets. Then we became more relaxed. We don’t pracitise a lot together so last week was a good preparation for us. Now we will try to win as many matches as possible.” – Ma Te & Wu Yang
And here we go!
Stay updated with the scores for the whole event right as follows: