by Ian Marshall, Editor
Following in the footsteps of Gustavo Tsuboi but if he can achieve the feat it will no doubt be completed in a manner that is less demanding for coach, Jean-René Mounié.
Gustavo Tsuboi is the only Latin American since the tournament was first staged in Hong Kong in 1980 to reach the quarter-final round. In Halmstad in 2015, he beat Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in his opening contest but later lost to Egypt’s Omar Assar who, in his initial encounter, had suffered defeat at the hands of Tiago Apolonia.
Every match went the full seven games! Points ratio determined the outcome, Gustavo Tsuboi finished in first place ahead of Omar Assar with Tiago Apolonia next in line and thus eliminated.
Full distances matches, in the opening round it was somewhat different for Omar Assar, who was beaten in four straight games by China’s very determined Ma Long; not for Gustavo Tsuboi. He caused a first round upset by overcoming Hong Kong’s Tang Peng, before losing in straight games to Japan’s Jun Mizutani. The win against Tang Peng just as before, it was in seven games.
Not only did Gustavo Tsuboi set a record for Latin America, no other player at a Men’s World Cup has ever completed 21 games to reach the quarter-finals!
Can Hugo Calderano match Gustavo Tsuboi? No doubt if he does, he’ll play fewer games. Listed at no.11 on the current Men’s World Rankings, he is the highest rated player who must compete in the group stage of proceedings. Now does that give him a significant advantage?
Earlier this year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, he reached the semi-final stage in Hungary but on his next outing, just over one month later in Qatar, he advanced to the final. On both occasions he was eventually beaten by China’s Fan Zhendong, the top seed at the forthcoming Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men’s World Cup; but note the names of the players he beat in Doha en route to the title decider.
After recording an opening round win in opposition to Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon, he accounted for Germany’s Timo Boll, a shadow of his best, before overcoming Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and China’s Lin Gaoyuan.
In Paris, the latter three names are all on duty; moreover, they are amongst the top eight names and receive a direct entry to the main draw.
Should, as expected, Hugo Calderano qualify for the second stage, two matches under his belt, he could cause an opening round upset and match Gustavo Tsuboi. The burning question is can he find the Qatar form and go even further?