Parker progresses

28 July 2012 / 15:16

Joanna Parker passed her first London 2012 Table Tennis assignment with flying colours, cruising to a straight-games victory over Caroline Kumahara.

Parker, Britain's only representative in the women's singles event, entered the match as favourite given she sits 73 places above the Brazilian in the ITTF rankings.

That was negated somewhat by Kumahara being able to warm up for the match via a comprehensive 4-0 preliminary-round victory over Yasmin Hassan Farah, who managed just eight points throughout this morning's clash.

Yet spurred on by a raucous home crowd that afforded her a quite incredible ovation, Parker forced her opponent into the net during the first point and never looked back. In the end, she completed her 4-0 success (11-7, 11-5, 11-9, 11-5) and booked a second-round clash with world number 47 Kristin Silbereisen.

In a contest of force versus finesse, Parker's defensive strategy proved the perfect antidote for her opponent's aggressive - and all too often wild - forehands. Profiting from serving first she made a confident start and duly forced early errors.

Kumahara, though, soon found an answer to the Brit's guile with several powerful forehands giving her the advantage. Parker did not move from her gameplan - a decision that paid dividends as she claimed the opening game 11-7 following some fine defensive play.

Buoyed and clearly settled, the 25-year-old raced into a 5-0 lead in the next and, although Kumahara briefly threatened a revival, moved 2-0 ahead.

As Parker's confidence grew, so did her intent, epitomised by the delivery of some well-timed smashes whenever her opponent's returns lacked the necessary fizz.

Kumahara held 4-1 and 9-5 leads in the third, yet Parker again had the answer and eventually completed an imperious revival to extend her advantage.

Clearly beaten, Kumahara was never able to live with the home favourite thereafter and Parker completed her triumph in fine style.