21 Jan 2017

Quite incredible, for the very first time in the history of the ITTF World Tour, since the first ball was hit in anger on Wednesday 3rd April 1996 in the English market town of Kettering, has the situation occurred when not one seeded player has reached the semi-final stage; that is 312 tournaments.

In 313th, the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest, when play concluded in the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event on the afternoon of Saturday 21st January, all four names who had booked places in the penultimate had been required to compete in the two day qualification tournament.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

China led the way, Shang Kun beat Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the top seed (7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10); next Lin Gaoyuan accounted for Korea’s Joo Saehyuk, the no.4 seed (11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9), before Yan An hit top form to devastate colleague Fang Bo, the no.3 seed (11-6, 11-3, 11-5, 11-1).

“I did not think much at the start of the match what could happen. I prepared as usual and did the things as before played my match. I have performed a lot better than I expected. I will prepare for the semi-final for now”, Yan An after beating Fang Bo

After three quarter-final matches, just one seed remained, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, listed at no.8 in the pecking order; facing Germany’s Ruwen Filus, could he maintain the honour of the principal names?

It appeared he may succeed; after trailing by three games to one, he levelled at three-all. In the seventh he led 9-6, he lost the next point but at 9-7, he had the service; the odds were in his favour but he was not able to convert the advantage. Ruwen Filus (11-9, 14-12, 2-11, 11-9, 6-11, 4-11, 12-10).

“I was fighting as hard as I could; recovering from three-one down. I changed things around going to 9-6 in the last game. I did not seize my chances today .It was not meant to be”, Quadri Aruna after losing to Ruwen Filus

Players who have been required to compete in the qualification group stage of proceedings have won ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles.

Notably Korea’s Lee Sangsu won in Slovenia in 2010, Masato Shiono on home soil in 2013. Last year in DPR Korea, the nation’s Kang Wi Hun won but every player competed in the group stage and he was the third highest ranked on duty; the tournament in Pyongyang cannot be compared

Pyongyang apart, it is the first time ever that a seeded player has not reached a Men’s Singles final! Accepted that in Budapest, there were 16 seeded players, as opposed to 32 players witnessed on many occasions in the past; it is still a quite astounding outcome.

Add the qualification tournament to the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open and the number reached is six days; the only other ITTF World Tour tournament, which including qualification lasted six days was the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open.

In Budapest two players will have competed on each of the six days; not one let alone two has ever completed such an itinerary!

Ruwen Filus beats Quadri Aruna

It is the 13th time that Yan An has appeared in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles quarter-final; it is the eighth time he has emerged successful; for Ruwen Filus, now in nine such visits he has won three times.

“I am very satisfied with my performance I took risks to make the win happen. I was 7-9 down, I took my chances, I made them count”, Ruwen Filus after beating Quadri Aruna

Ruwen Filus meets Yan An at the semi-final stage.

World Tour 2017 Hungarian Open Quadri Aruna Fang Bo Ruwen Filus Yan An

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