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Leading Names Enjoy Opening Round Success but Two Notables Fall
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Iulia Necula beaten by Airi Morinaga   Photo By: Pablo Rubio

07/04/2013        GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour, US Open, Americas Challenge Series (Click here to access this section)

The leading names in the Women’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour United States Open in Las Vegas all emerged successful in their first round clashes on Thursday 4th July; however, there were two surprises of note.

Japan’s Airi Morinaga and Mika Tuschida were the players to rise to the occasion; the players to suffer were Romania’s Iulia Necula and Zheng Jiaqi of the United States.

Meanwhile, the principal names to prosper as status predicted were Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Canada’s Zhang Mo in addition to the host nation duo of Lily Zhang and Tan Liying.

It was Airi Morinaga who caused the first upset of the day by beating Iulia Necula (9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7); soon after, Mika Tsuchida followed suit by overcoming Zheng Jiaqi (11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-1).

All four players had been required to compete in the qualification stage of proceedings; however, on the international scene Iulia Necula and Zheng Jiaqi were the more experienced international players.

Successful Junior Career
Iulia Necula made her debut in the World Championships in 2004 in Doha having enjoyed a most successful junior career.

She was the runner up in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event at the European Youth Championships in Bratislava in 2000 and three years later experienced the same fate in the Junior Girls’ Singles event.

Now 27 years old, currently she stands at no.213 on the Women’s World Rankings; conversely Airi Morinaga is new to the international scene and has no global status.

ITTF World Tour Experience
Equally, Zheng Jiaqi is a player with international experience; she may not have appeared in World Championships but she has ITTF World Tour experience.

Notably in 2011 she was a quarter-finalist in the Women’s Singles event at the Brazil Open and one year later in Chile progressed to the same round.

Presently she is at no.153 on the Women’s World Rankings; as with Airi Morinaga, Mika Tsuchida has not World ranking.

Comfortable Wins
Two upsets but where the leading names were concerned there were no heartaches.

Also it was farewell for the much travelled Phillips sisters from Wales; Megan was beaten by Lily Zhang, the no.4 seed; Angharad suffered defeat at the hands of Tan Liying, the no.7 seed (11-7, 11-6, 11-3, 11-9).

Success for Lily Zhang and Tan Liying; similarly Elizabeth Samara, the no.1 seed, accounted for Isabel Chu of the United States (11-8, 11-2, 11-5, 11-8) and Zhang Mo, the no.8 seed, overcame Prachi Jha of the United States (11-9, 10-12, 16-14, 11-8, 12-10).



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