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Qatar’s Aya Majdi in action against India’s Ankita Das during the qualifying round of Qatar Open Table Tennis Championship at Aspire Women’s Committee Hall, yesterday. Das won the match 4-0. Photos by: Shaival Dalal
DOHA: Qatar’s Noora Al Abri and Aya Majdi face difficult first round matches today after both advanced at the 2013 Qatar Open Table Tennis Championships yesterday.
Al Abri, who reached the first round as a lucky loser will face second seed and world number two Shiwen Liu of China at 3.15pm.
Al Abri, who was drawn in Group 8 in the qualifying round, lost both her matches against Carole Grundisch and Singapore’s Siyun Isabelle Li in straight games.
Meanwhile, Al Abri’s team-mate Majdi will clash against seventh seed Jiaduo Wu of Germany at 1.45pm after finishing second in Group 7.
Majdi, 18, who enjoyed a walkover victory on Thursday when her opponent Ganna Gaponova failed to turn up for the match, lost to India’s Ankita Das in four games 6-11, 9-11, 4-11, 3-11.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Haruka Sakai and South Korea’s Lee Eunhye caused the biggest upsets as the women’s qualifiying rounds came to a close yesterday.
Ranked 304 in the world rankings, Sakai beat world number 157 Dina Meshef of Egypt in a seven-game thriller.
The Japanese won 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-7.
Minutes earlier, Eunhye of Korea, who entered the tournament with no status stunned world number 183 Lee Ching Wan of Hong Kong in seven games.
The Korean won 11-5, 4-11, 11-4, 9-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-8 in their Group 11 encounter.
Meanwhile, in the men’s category, Japan’s Masataka Morizono, ranked 324 in the world rallied from three games down to beat Egpyt’s Lashin El Sayed 9-11, 10-12, 11-3, 7-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5.
In other results, India’s Kamal Sharath Achanta beat Croatia’s Frane Kojic 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 8-11, 13-11 in seven games to secure top spot in Group 3.
On a day where there were no major shocks, Austria’s Daniel Habesohn was made to work for his victory against Korea’s Kim Kyungmin who was ranked 206 places lower than his opponent.
Meanwhile, the seeded players will make their first appearances of the $212,000 tournament when the main rounds get under way at 10.00am with the Doubles round.
With the world’s top three players in their rankings, China will go into the tournament as strong favourites to clinch the titles on February 24.
Defending men’s champion Xu Xin will begin his campaign against qualifer Kasper Sternberg of Denmark at 4.00pm with compatriots Jike Zhang who recently won the Kuwait Open title, Long Ma and Hao Wang also in action during the first round.
In the women’s category, Ning Ding opens her campaign at 1.00pm against Egpyt’s Galilia Nasser with the aim of clinching her first title in Qatar, having come second in 2011.
Olympic champion Xiaoxia Li will also be in action in the $212,000 event at the Qatar Women’s Sports Hall. Second round matches will also take place from 7.00pm. The Peninsula