by Simon Daish
Budapest was the destination for the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open as the new international season got off an exciting start.
Both doubles titles ended up going to Chinese partnerships; Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha combined to defeat fellow compatriots Chen Ke and Wang Manyu in the Women’s Doubles final while over in the Men’s Doubles gold medal match it was the pairing of Fan Zhendong and Yu Ziyang who went on to lift the trophy.
Defeat for Wang Manyu by the narrowest of margins at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda, but in Budapest it was the opposite story with no.6 seeded player earning a seven games victory over Sun Yingsha (9-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-4).
The Men’s Singles gold medal ended up in the hands of Fan Zhendong, who enjoyed a birthday win against surprise finalist Wang Chuqin (11-6, 9-11, 11-7, 14-12, 11-3) which leads us into the Pongcast question of the month:
How many World Tour titles has Fan Zhendong won throughout his career?
Comment your answer on the Pongcast post via the ITTF Facebook page and share the video for a chance to win a piece of gear from Nittaku.
January 1st 2018 saw the new ITTF World Rankings system come into place, leading to a new name at the summit of both the men’s and women’s lists.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov ended Ma Long’s 34 consecutive month stay at the top of the men’s rankings list with the German becoming the new World no.1 at the start of 2018 following an outstanding display on the international scene in 2017 while it was China’s Chen Meng who reached the top of the women’s rankings table.
The ITTF and the T2 Asia-Pacific League signed a major collaboration deal in January, in a move which will see both organisations working together to take table tennis to new heights. Certain elements from T2 are being brought over to the ITTF World Tour, including the use of multiple balls during matches and increased player promotion.
Watch the Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast video below for January’s biggest news stories: