By Sports Reporter/ Doha
Singapore’s Zhang Wanling outgunned Iran’s Shima Safaei 3-2 in a thriller to move into the final qualifying round of the women’s singles event at the WTT Star Contender at the Lusail Sports Arena yesterday.
Wanling won the first and third game but Safaei took the match into fifth game but the Singaporean prevailed 11-4, 5-11, 12-10, 10-12, 12-10. It was curtains for Qatari women as all five local paddlers – Shouq Abdulla, Maha Faramarzi, Maryam Ali, Maha Ali and Ala Mohamed – made an early exit. India’s Reeth Tennison scored a comfortable 3-0 win over Shouq Abdulla. Ranked 533rd in the world, the 26-year-old Indian won 11-5, 11-6, 11-6.
Maryam Ali lost to Katarina Strazar of Slovenia 3-11, 4-11, 3-11, while Maha Ali was beaten by Iran’s Melika Karami 1-11, 4-11, 5-11. Ala Mohamed went down to Prithika Pavade of France 4-11, 1-11, 2-11 while Maha Faramarzi lost to Iran’s Mahshid Ashtari 1-11, 3-11, 5-11.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Mustafa Bakhtiyari, Mohamed Hosseini and Behrooz Daneshmand, who were awarded wildcards by organisers, lost yesterday. Bakhtiyari went down to Beh Kun Ting of Singapore 5-11, 9-11, 2-11, while Hosseini lost to Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chia-hung 11-13, 9-11, 4-11. Daneshmand was beaten by Yuto Kizukuri of Japan 5-11, 5-11, 3-11.
The final qualifying rounds will be held today before main draw action gets underway tomorrow, with Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and South Korea’s Jeon Jihee as the number one seeds in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
This is the second WTT Star Contender event hosted in Qatar, with March’s event seeing the launch of the WTT Middle East hub. Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto triumphed in the men’s singles and his compatriot Mima Ito won in the women’s singles earlier in the year in Doha, but neither will feature at this event.
Forty players automatically enter the main draw of the men’s and women’s singles, with eight players progressing through qualifying.
WTT Star Contender events are in the third tier of the WTT Series below the WTT Cup Finals and WTT Champions Series. A potential 600 ranking points are available for the winners of each of the competitions, with a total prize fund of $200,000.
Qatar’s Maha Ali.
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