Medallists in Düsseldorf prove a point in Doha
Bronze medallists at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships but not seeded in Doha, the Singaporean partnership comprising Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu emerged the one pairing to upset the order of merit in the opening round of the Women’s Doubles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open.
Once again, as just under one year ago in Düsseldorf they underlined the fact they form a partnership of high quality but in Doha perhaps never reached the level achieved in the German city.
Focus and a calm approach eventually brought success by the very narrowest of margins against Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nan and Minnie Soo Wai Yam, the no.6 seeds (13-15, 14-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-9).
“I don’t really know why we were not seeded. It’s the first time we have played against Ng Wing Nam and Soo Wai Yam; they played quite slowly, it was difficult to find a rhythm to our play. Also at the start we were nervous. Even though it was close in the fifth game we were feeling confident, we believed we could win. This tournament is important preparation for the Commonwealth Games.” Feng Tianwei
Defeat for the sixth seeds, there also very nearly defeat for the top seeds; Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato had to withstand a brave recovery by Korea’s Choi Hyojoo and Kim Jiho. In the fifth game an upset appeared on the cards, Choi Hyojoo and Kim Jiho led 5-1 at the change of ends but as the winning post loomed so did errors. Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato stood firm (11-13, 11-3, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8).
A close call for Japan, there was also a close call for Korea; Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, the no.3 seeds, needed the full five games to beat Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut and Suthasini Sawettabut, only emerging successful by the minimum two point margin in the decider (11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10).
Likewise there were some nervous moments for China’s Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha, the no.4 seeds, they were extended the full distance by Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs. The crucial moment came in the fifth game, at the change of ends the Chinese duo led 5-4; they won the next four points. There was no way back for Romania.
“It was my first match in the hall; it’s also the first time I have ever played in Qatar. I wasn’t adjusted to the atmosphere. At 5-4 in the fifth game I was thinking clearly but we were under pressure; it was the final game so we had to focus and keep a good level of concentration if we wanted to win.” Chen Xingtong
Hard fought wins for three highly seeded pairs, for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, life was less fraught; the no.2 seeds, they accounted for the partnership formed by Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova in four games (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-8).
The quarter-final contests will be played later in the day.