Moments away, the start of the 2017 Uncle Pop Women's World Table Tennis Cup presented by Polar Naturals hosted in Downtown Markham, Canada. In the spotlight on day 1 for team USA fans is 21 year old two-time Olympian Lily Zhang, the great US hope in the event. The Cup begins with seeds 9-20 competing in 4 groups of 3 players with 2 of those players advancing into the top 16 main draw. It is a cut throat start to the competition as 4 players will exit the competition.
Seated in group A, Zhang is joined by 9th seed (top in the group stage) Suh Hyowon of South Korea. The defensive player and Zhang are not strangers as they encountered each other in round 3 of the Women's Singles at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Suh of Korea was the victor on the day as she won 4-1, but could Zhang turn around the result in Markham? Well we know from previous occasions that she is able to raise her game and has beaten high caliber players before. In 2014 at the World Team Championships she stunned world number 14 defensive giant and European Champion Viktoria Pavlovich in an intense match. If she can find her A-game then Suh will have to bring out her best to hold Zhang at bay.
The big match will of course be between Canada's home competitor Mo Zhang and Lily Zhang. A repeat of their most recent match would of course be very much in favor of the young American who dominated proceedings against Mo Zhang in the recent final of the Pan Am Cup in straight games, which saw USA's Zhang earn her qualification spot at this very event. It will be a great battle between the two North American players, both of whom will be vying to fight in front of a home crowd, more so for Mo Zhang in her home country of Canada.
If Lily Zhang can find her confidence on the day and take the momentum she had in the Pan Am Cup final then a place in the main draw could be hers, but without any doubt Mo Zhang will be putting it all on the line and the showdown promises to be an exciting one and only on day one of the competition!
Be sure to tune in on ITTF Channel as the action comes in live and follow the results at ITTF Online