(by Steve Hopkins)
The WTT Contender Event in Doha is down to the Final 16, and most of the big names are still alive. The top two seeds, Harimoto and Calderano each advanced easily. Aside from those two slots which were reserved for the top two seeds, the other positions were placed by random selection of the 8 qualifiers and the 24 seeded players.
On Thursday, Harimoto will face Sangsu Lee of Korea. Calderano will have a tough match against another Korean, An Jaehyun. A third Korean, Daeseong Cho will face qualifier Levenko. The other matches include an all-Swede matchup between Falck and Karlsson, Ovtcharov versus Lebesson, and Aruna Quadri versus qualifier Joao Geraldo.
On the women’s side, both of the top seeds had trouble in their opening match. Mima Ito managed a 3-2 win over Brit Eerland while second seeded Cheng I-Ching was less lucky – losing 3-1 to Bernadette Szocs. All four Japanese players that made the draw advanced. None of the North American players survived the opening round with Lily Zhang falling 3-2 to Japan’s Ishikawa, Adriana Diaz falling 3-2 to Pesotska, and Mo Zhang falling 3-1 to Xiaona Shan of Germany.
Check in with ButterflyOnline.com for news and scores as the ITTF Calendar heats up ahead of the Olympic Games this July.