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Olympic Games: Worthy opponents await Olympic debutants

Thursday 22 July

The quest for honours starting in round three, for China’s Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, the respective top two seeds in the women’s singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and both on debut, potentially most worthy opponents await.

At the top of the order, the seeded adversary listed to oppose Chen Meng is Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.30 seed; success and then the predicted opponents are either Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.11 seed and recently crowned European champion, or Canada’s Zhang Mo, the no.21 seed.

Maintain progress and Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.8 seed, could well await at the quarter-final stage. Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian, the no.24 seed, is the potential third round adversary; then it is either Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.16 seed or Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.19 seed.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the draw, a quarter-final clash against Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.6 seed, is very much on the cards for Sun Yingsha.

The very possible third round adversary for Sun Yingsha is Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the no.25 seed; negotiate that hurdle and in round four, the predicted opponents are either Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.13 seed or Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.18 seed.

Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha are favourites to reach the semi-final round, it is the same for the host nation’s Mima Ito, the no.3 seed and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.4 seed.

Awaiting Mima Ito in the quarter-finals could well be Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.7 seed. In round three, the predicted opponent for Mima Ito is Portuguese pen-holder Fu Yu, the no.32 seed; clear that hurdle and either Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.15 seed or Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut, the no.22 seed, could await.

Jeon Jihee may well face Latin American opposition. Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi, the no.23 seed, is the predicted third round adversary, then either Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.9 seed or Russia’s Polina Mikhailova, the no.27 seed.

Intriguing encounters but arguably the most intriguing quarter-final women’s singles encounter is the potential duel between Cheng I-Ching and Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.5 seed.

Overall, in international competition, they have met no less than 21 times, the balance is with Kasumi Ishikawa, she has won 12 of the contests but most pertinently she has lost the most recent two duels. In 2018 at the Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup in Chengdu the verdict went to Cheng I-Ching as it did at the ITTF World Tour 2020 Hungarian Open.

In Tokyo, Cheng I-Ching could well face Singapore’s Yu Mengyu, the no.26 seed in round three, in round four either Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.14 seed or Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova, the no.31 seed.

Possible European opponents, it is the same for Kasumi Ishikawa; the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova, the no.29 seed, is the potential third round opponent, one round later it is either Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.10 seed, or Ukraine’s Margaryta Pesotska, the no.20 seed.

At the recent Liebherr 2020 European Championships, Margaryta Pesotska ended the hopes of Sofia Polcanova.

Players amongst the top 32 names to meet in round three, the top 16 in round four and the top eight in the quarters, it may not accrue; stranger things have happened!

Editor: Ian Marshall

Photo Credit: ITTF

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