17 Aug 2018

Qualification required, at the end of the opening day of play, Thursday 17th August, at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte, England’s Liam Pitchford departed with the highest honours.

In the morning session of play, partnering colleague Paul Drinkhall, the pair caused an upset by beating Sweden’s Mattias Falck and Pär Gerell, the no.6 seeds (11-7, 11-7, 11-3); in the evening session, the word upset was an understatement, The 25 year old caused arguably the biggest shock of the year. He beat China’s Ma Long, the no.3 seed (11-7, 11-9, 12-14, 11-13, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6), the player who has won every major title the sport has to offer.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The success recorded by Liam Pitchford overshadowed several other notable efforts in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event.

Austria’s Daniel Habeshon beat Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.8 seed (9-11, 11-8, 13-11, 11-13, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8), whilst Masataka Morizono accounted for Japanese colleague, Jin Ueda, the no.11 seed (9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4).

Upsets but not for the respective top seeds in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event. Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov accounted for Paul Drinkhall (11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-8); China’s Xu Xin overcame Slovakia’s Wang Yang (11-3, 11-4, 11-1, 8-11, 11-4). Meanwhile, not to be upstaged, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed, reserved his second round place courtesy of success against Korea Republic’s Baek Hogyun (11-9, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7).

Surprises in the opening round of the Men’s Singles event, it was the same in the counterpart Women’s Singles competition. Japan’s Mima Ito, Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato all suffered at the hands of Chinese qualifiers. Mima Ito, the no.2 seed was beaten by Wang Yidi (11-2, 7-11, 11-3, 13-15, 11-6, 11-3), Hina Hayata, the no.5 seed lost to Liu Xi (11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3). Likewise, by the very narrowest of margins, Miyu Kato, the no.7 seed, experienced defeat when facing Liu Gaoyang (4-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-5, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Problems for Mima Ito, Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato but not for colleagues Kasumi Ishikawa, Miu Hirano and Hitomi Sato; in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event, Kasumi Ishikawa, the top seed, beat Britt Eerland of the Netherlands (11-8, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6); Miu Hirano, the no.3 seed, overcame Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7), Hitomi Sato, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Korea Republic’s Park Joohyun (6-11, 12-10, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8).

Success for Hitomi Sato, also she enjoyed first round Women’s Doubles success; partnering Honoka Hashimoto, the top seeds, the duo made a fine start to their campaign. They accounted for Korea Republic’s Lee Yujin and Park Jooghyun (11-7, 11-8, 11-4).

Likewise, in the Men’s Doubles event, there was a fine start for the top seeds; Masataka Morizono in harness with colleague, Yuya Oshima, overcame spirited opposition in the guise of qualifiers Belgium’s Robin Devos and Finland’s Benedek Olah (10-12, 11-4, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6).

The second round of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events will be played on Friday 17th August, as will the quarter and semi-finals of the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles competitions.

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Bulgaria Open Liam Pitchford

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Day 4 - 2018 Seamaster ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open

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