World Championships Opening Day Update: Kanak Jha and Three US Women Advance - Butterfly Table Tennis
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World Championships Opening Day Update: Kanak Jha and Three US Women Advance

(by Steve Hopkins)

The opening day in Houston saw Round of 128 action in both Men’s and Women’s Singles.

In Men’s Singles, Kanak Jha was the lone US player to advance (Nikhil Kumar fell 3-4 to Monteiro, and Kai Zhang fell 0-4 to Alto).  Jha topped  Korea’s World No. 43 An Jaehyun in a tight 4-3 match.  Next up for Jha is Andrej Gacina of Croatia (World No. 48).  Another familiar regional players ,Canada’s Jeremy Hazin, had an upset win over Marcelo Aguirre 4-1.

TeamUSA’s Women had a great first day.  Amy Wang beat German Champion Nina Mittelham 4-0, Lily Zhang blanked Leonie Hartbrich 4-0, and Jennifer Wu topped Spain’s Sofia-Xuan Zhang 4-1.  Canada’s Mo Zhang advanced with a tight 4-3 win over Jieni Shao.  Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz dominated Greece’s Toliou 4-0.

Thus far, matches have not included the top seeds – who all had byes from the first day’s action.  In Men’s Singles, the players with byes included Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, Liang Jingkun, Hugo Calderano, Lin Yun-Ju, Mattias Falck, Timo Boll, and Tomokazu Harimoto.  In Women’s Singles, the players with byes included Chen Meng, Jeon Jihee, Kasumi Ishikawa, Cheng I-Ching, Wang Manyu, Mima Ito, Hina Hayata, Wang Yidi, Feng Tianwei, and Sun Yingsha.

The other action on the first day was in Mixed Doubles.  Headlining the action today was the mixed country pairs where China and USA have teamed together in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy.  The Lin Gaoyuan / Lily Zhang team won their opening match 3-0 over Portugal’s tough pair of Tiago Apolonia and Jieni Shao.  The Kanak Jha / Wang Manyu team was also dominant with a 3-0 win over a Russian pair (Sidorenko and Tailakova).  Other first day Mixed Doubles winners were Sweden’s Moregard and Kallberg, Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz and Brian Afanador, and Germany’s Dang Qiu and Nina Mittelham.

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