12 Jan 2019

Winner in Italy in 1996, the very first year of the ITTF World Tour, once again as the 24th year commences, the name of Vladimir Samsonov, now 42 years of age, appears on the men’s singles entry list at the forthcoming Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open; he is the no.10 seed.

He commences his quest on Thursday 17th January but it is on another veteran that eyes focus in the preceding qualification tournament; on Wednesday 16th January, Austria’s Robert Gardos will mark his 40th birthday, a place in the main draw will be the icing on the cake.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The record of Vladimir Samsonov is well documented, he is the outright leader; a total of 27 ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles, for Robert Gardos, despite being one of the most familiar faces on the international scene and one of the most hard working, the cupboard is bare.

Over the years he has come close; never closer than in 2006 in Santiago. Partnering colleague Chen Weixing, the duo won the men’s doubles title beating the combination of Hungary’s Ferenc Paszy and Slovenia’s Bojan Tokic to secure the top step of the podium.

Later in the afternoon, Robert Gardos reached the final of the men’s singles event, he played one of the best matches of his life; by the very narrowest of margins he experienced defeat at the hands of a player against whom he may have the opportunity to extract revenge at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open. He was beaten by Vladimir Samsonov (9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10).

It is the only time in his career that Robert Gardos has ever reached an ITTF World Tour men’s singles final; the overall total for Vladimir Samsonov is 38 in number.

I trust now that “Vladi the Villain” will show just a morsel of charity for the deed of now over 12 years ago and will bring a bottle of wine to Budapest, the city in which Robert Gardos was born, to celebrate the landmark birthday; I recommend Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc, about US$ 5,000.00 per bottle.

World Tour 2019 Seamaster Hungarian Open Vladimir Samsonov Robert Gardos

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open