20 Jan 2019

The Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open, scheduled to start on Thursday 17th January, qualification commenced on Tuesday 15th January.

Follow the thrills and spills live from Budapest!

Lin Gaoyuan seizes opportunities

Men’s Singles Final

Win the crucial points, for Lin Guoyuan, the no.3 seed; that proved the major factor in the men’s singles final against colleague Wang Chuqin, a players whose journey had started five days earlier in the qualification tournament.

Lin Gaoyuan won the opening two games by the minimal two point margin, before in the third establishing a 9-8 lead; it was the stage at which Wang Chuqin called “Time Out”, Lin Gaoyuan secured the next two points. In the fourth game Wang Chuqin threatened a recovery, he won the first four points but at 10-9 it was match point to Lin Gaoyuan; once again Lin Gaoyuan seized the opportunity to record a hard fought straight games win (12-10, 12-10, 11-8, 11-9).

Notably for Wang Chuqin it was again runners up spot; one year ago he had been beaten in the final by Fan Zhendong.

” I am really happy winning the title in the first competition of the year. Such a good start is a positive sign for the rest of the year for me. I was prepared for a long match in the final as we always play tight matches.” Lin Gaoyuan

Lin Gaoyuan beat Wang Chuqin to secure the men’s singles title (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Chen Meng wins women’s singles title

Women’s Singles final

The forehand lethal, always prepared to step around the backhand, Chen Meng, the no.2 seed, won the women’s singles title; at the final hurdle she beat Zhu Yuling in six games (9-11, 11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 11-4, 11-5).

Turning point in the match undoubtedly came in the fourth game; Zhu Yuling leading 10-9 and ahead two games to one, elected for “Time Out”, Chen Meng saved the game point and then on her second game point succeeded. In the both the fifth and sixth games Chen Meng established a 5-1 lead, the grip was never relaxed. At 10-4 in the sixth game, Chen Meng held six match points, she succeeded at the second attempt winning a long top spin high quality rally in what was by some distance the best point of the match, serve and receive had dominated.

“We’ve played each other many, many times. I am pleased to win the title and I will do my best to raise or at least keep up my performance for the next competitions .” Chen Meng

The top seed but in Budapest it was runners up spot for Zhu Yuling (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Pen-hold master falls short

Men’s Singles Semi-Finals

One month after their head-to-head encounter at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Lin Gaoyuan and Xu Xin met once again on the world stage, this time for a spot in the gold medal match at the opening ITTF World Tour event of the year.

A closely contested affair which saw three games decided by no more than a two point difference between the two players, but in the end there was a clear victor with Lin Gaoyuan coming away with a 4-0 win over the pen-hold grip specialist (14-12, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

“I was trying my best to make the final of this competition. Xu plays with the pen-hold style so I was trying take and advantage of that as well; today it worked.” Lin Gaoyuan

Title favourite stunned

Men’s Singles Semi-Finals

Defending champion and seeded first for the Men’s Singles draw in Budapest but Fan Zhendong has missed out on a place in the final. In the last four the hot favourite for the title fought back from a 8-4 points deficit in the deciding game to draw level at 9-9 only for his unseeded opponent Wang Chuqin to win the following two points to complete the upset (7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-9).

“I played Fan Zhendong who is a very, very strong player. In the last game I was anxious; when he was making his comeback, I said to myself just keep calm and play like during a training session.” Wang Chuqin

Final day arrives

The concluding day of the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open is here, a day which sees both the Men’s and Women’s Singles champions crowned in Budapest.

Grab a look at the schedule for Sunday 20th January here.

Rivals one day, partners the next

Men’s Doubles Final

Opponents one day earlier in the second round of the men’s singles event when Xu Xin had beaten Liang Jingkun by the very narrowest of margins, the duo combined to win the men’s doubles title on the first international appearance as a partnership. The no.5 seeds, at the final hurdle they beat Chinese national team colleagues, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seeds, in five games (11-5, 9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8).

“Liang is a very young player after his lost the match yesterday against me, he did very well today. He prepared well plus I encouraged him a lot.” Xu Xin

“The encouragement from Xu was very important. He has been a champion with many partners. I feel honoured to be with him on the same side.” Liang Jingkun

From a different angle, the runners up, Lin Gaoyuan (left) and (right) Fan Zhendong (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Top seeds secure title

Women’s Doubles Final

Beaten by Chinese national team colleagues, Ding Ning and Chen Meng, in the title deciding contest at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Shinan Korea Open, their only previous appearance as a partnership on the international scene, Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling, the top seeds, gained an air of revenge in Budapest. They beat Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, the no.3 seeds (8-11, 11-7, 15-13, 11-2) to secure the women’s doubles title.

“I think we did well in this match and communicated with each other really well; this was one of the key factors for victory .” Wang Manyu

“It was the second time we have played together and it was a surprise how well it worked. I hope we can play together in the near future.” Zhu Yuling

Wang Manyu (left) and (right) Zhu Yuling en route to women’s doubles gold (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Feeling at home

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

The journey starting four days earlier in the qualification tournament, progress contrary to expectations, on the penultimate day of play it was the end of adventures for Russia’s Alexander Shibaev; he was beaten at the quarter-final stage by China’s Fan Zhendong, the top seed (11-8, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8). A five games outcome, the same as on their two previous outcomes when Fan Zhendong had won on the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour in Poland and at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships

“I feel myself at home in Hungary the audience is very supportive. I was just focusing on this match, I did not think of anything else. I enjoyed the match today.” Fan Zhendong

The end of the road for Alexander Shibaev, beaten by Fan Zhendong (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Youth Olympic Games medallist meet

Men’s Singles Quarter-Final

Gold medallist at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games versus the bronze medal winner at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games; the verdict went in favour of the former, China’s Wang Chuqin beat Brazil’s Hugo Calderano in six games (5-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4, 12-14, 11-5).

“Hugo is one of the best players in the world; there are a lot things I need to learn from him. Today I was fighting as hard as I could for the victory.” Wang Chuqin

Hugo Calderano beaten by Wang Chuqin (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Sheer class from Chinese masters

Mixed Doubles Final

Winners of the Mixed Doubles title at the Seamaster 2018 Austrian Open, now Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen have become the first partnership to collect an ITTF World Tour Mixed Doubles trophy for a second time.

At the final hurdle in Budapest the Chinese pair accounted for the host nation’s Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel in straight games (11-3, 11-6, 11-5) to bring the Hungarian duo’s fantastic campaign to a halt.

“We kept an eye on them as they beat some good pairs on their way to the final. We kept focus our and tactics that we had prepared for the final. We worked well together as a partnership.” Xu Xin

Belarusian legend falls short

Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Competing in his first match of the event following two walkover wins but that didn’t stop Vladimir Samsonov from getting up to speed in quick fashion, establishing a two games to one lead in his quarter-finals match with China’s Lin Gaoyuan.

However, the following three games were decided by no more than a two point margin in Lin Gaoyuan’s favour – in game six Vladi fought back from 10-4 down to pull it back to 10-9 but in the end the win went to his Chinese counterpart (10-12, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-9).

“I have great respect for such a legend like Samsonov; we had never played against each other before today. I prepared for this match thoroughly as he has such great experience over the years. Even when I was leading he never gave up and surprised me with new things. I am very happy I was able to keep my composure in every game and beat him.” Lin Gaoyuan

Not to be for Vladimir Samsonov (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Vladi takes to the table

Don’t miss Vladimir Samsonov’s quarter-final encounter with Lin Gaoyuan, live on itTV:

Commanding display sees Xu Xin progress

Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

The master of pen-hold China’s Xu Xin, seeded second, has booked his place in the last four of the Men’s Singles event, securing a convincing 4-0 win against Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon (13-11, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8).

“We played at the China Open last year and I lost. I prepared long and hard for this revenge so I am really pleased my plan worked today. Most important was today to have a good start and take the lead.” Xu Xin

Defending champion bids farewell

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

Champion in the Hungarian capital last year but that feat won’t be repeated in 2019 with Wang Manyu falling at the penultimate round of the Women’s Singles draw.

Struggling to get a foothold in the match the no.3 seed was shown the door by the player seeded directly above her in Chen Meng, who needed just five games to seal her spot in the final (11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5).

“This match today was a lot harder from inside than the way it looked from outside. The points were very close, every rally could have gone either way. She was very good in short to short and used the table in depth very well.” Chen Meng

No title defence for Wang Manyu (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Top seed recovers to make final

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

Zhu Yuling is the first player to confirm her place in the Women’s Singles final following a dramatic semi-finals encounter with fellow Chinese colleague Liu Shiwen.

Trailing by a 1-3 deficit top seed Zhu Yuling responded with back-to-back game wins to take the match right down to the wire – in the decider Liu Shiwen held a match point opportunity but failed to capitalise on it as Zhu Yuling won three points in a row to claim a 4-3 victory by the narrowest of margins (5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10).

“We’ve played just recently so I knew how to prepare this match. I think was the more patient player during the match and never gave up. Towards the end of the last game luck came my way too so I was very fortunate.” Zhu Yuling

Victory from the jaws of defeat for Zhu Yuling (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Day three underway

And we’re back underway in Budapest. Take a look at the schedule for Saturday 19th January here.

China dominant, top four names book semi-final places

Women’s Singles Quarter-Finals

The leading names in the women’s singles event all booked penultimate round places; China secured every step of the podium.

At the quarter-final stage, all Chinese clashes witnessed success for Zhu Yuling, the top seed, against  Chen Xingtong, the no.6 seed (11-4, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8) and for Liu Shiwen, the no.4 seed, when facing qualifier Sun Yingsha (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 13-11). In the opposite half of the draw, Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, overcame Portugal’s Fu Yu (11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4); Chen Meng, the no.2 seed, ended the hopes of Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, the no.10 seed (8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4).

Liu Shiwen prepares for take off! (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Xu Xin extracts revenge

Men’s Singles Round Two

Beaten by Chinese compatriot Liang Jingkun in the final just over two months ago in Austria, Xu Xin, the no.2 seed, extracted revenge but only just; he in the second round of the men’s singles event he emerged successful by the very narrowest of margins (11-6, 11-8, 7-11, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 13-11).

Success in a thrilling contest, it was the same for Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon who upset the order of merit; the no.12 seed, he beat England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.8 seed, by the minimal two point margin in the decider (11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 14-12).

Xu Xin beat Liang Jingkun by the narrowest of decisions (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Eyes set on repeat

Men’s Singles Round Two

Runner up one year ago when likewise required to compete in the qualification tournament, China’s 18 year old Wang Chuqin caused a second round men’s singles surprise to keep hopes of a repeat finish very much alive. He recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.13 seed, in six games (8-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9).

“I was a little anxious at the start, I needed to settle down and find the rhythm of the match. I had to be more patient to achieve my goal. I hope this year I can challenge for the title again.” Wang Chuqin

Wang Chuqin, a young man with a clear goal (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Alexander Shibaev eliminates unforced errors

Men’s Singles Round Two

Required to compete in the two day qualification tournament Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and China’s Wang Chuqin both booked quarter-final men’s singles places. Alexander Shibaev progressed courtesy of success against Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.5 seed (11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5); Wang Chuqin overcame Frenchman, Simon Gauzy, the no.13 seed (8-11, 3-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9).

“I made changes after I lost two games in a row. I started to make less and less simple mistakes and unforced errors. I played very disciplined. I felt I got into the zone and started to play stronger and stronger.” Alexander Shibaev

Alexander Shibaev who beat Wong Chun Ting (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Good start important

Men’s Singles Round Two

Quickly into his stride, well aware that in the guise of Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson, the no.14 seed, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.4 seed reserved his place in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles event; he emerged successful in five games (11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3, 12-10).

“I started really well and took the first two games. He is a very dangerous player and is able to make a comeback from any situation. I kept being aggressive and kept the game plan really well.” Hugo Calderano

Kristian Karlsson brought to his knees by Hugo Calderano (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Preventing good start vital

Men’s Singles Round Two

Focused on retaining the title secured one year ago, China’s Fan Zhendong made a further stride in a bid to achieve his avowed goal. The top seed, he accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.9 seed in six games (11-9, 15-17, 11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 14-12).

“I had to be careful at the beginning of the match because he starts really strong in every match; my goal was to prevent him making a good start. I changed the rhythm well in match. I will continue to fight in the later rounds.”

Chuang Chih-Yuan beaten by Fan Zhendong (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Host nation pair reaches final

Mixed Doubles Semi-Finals

Thoroughly prepared for the task in hand, the host nation’s Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel hit top form at the semi-final stage of the mixed doubles event; the no.8 seeds, they beat Russian qualifiers Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova in three straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-4).

“We went through on a long preparation with our coach Miklos Somosi; all the hard work we’ve put in is paying off. We faced a tricky opponent a defender and an attacking player but we knew from start to finish how to deal with every situation during the match. We are over the moon to be in the final.” Szandra Pergel

In the final they meet China’s Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, the no.5 seeds; in the corresponding penultimate round encounter they ended the hopes of Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova, the no.2 seeds (11-8, 11-4, 11-7). The title decider is scheduled for 12.20 pm (local time) on Saturday 19th January.

Delighted supporters from the Astalitenisz Club in Zalaegerszeg – Hajra Magyaroki – Come on Hungary! (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Chinese pairs prevail

Men’s Doubles Semi-Finals

Liang Jingkun and Xu Xin alongside Chinese national team colleagues, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan reserved their places in the title deciding contest following penultimate round wins of a somewhat different nature. Impressively, Liang Jingkun and Xu Xin, the no.5 seeds, beat French qualifiers, Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson in three straight games (11-6, 11-7, 13-11); in rather closer contest, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seeds, overcame Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Wong Chun Ting, the no.3 seeds, in five games (7-11, 11-7, 12-14, 11-7, 11-3).

“We kept a very strong focus on our tactics. We fought stronger and stronger; this is why we come through in the end.” Fan Zhendong

The final is scheduled for 7.20 pm (local time) on Saturday 19th January.

Strong legs vital, alongside (left) Lin Gaoyuan; Fan Zhendong (right) illustrates that fact very clearly (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Sickness forces prominent names to withdraw

Illness has forced Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching to withdraw from play in Budapest.

The outcome is that at there will be no women’s doubles semi-final; the final on Saturday 19th January will be an all Chinese affair between Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling, the top seeds, in opposition to Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, the no.3 seeds. In the penultimate round Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling were scheduled to face Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs, the no.7 seeds; Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha, Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the no.2 seeds.

Also Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus books a quarter-final men’s singles place without playing a match. In the opening round he received a walk-over against Germany’s Qiu Dang, in the second round he was due to face Patrick Franziska, the no.7 seed.

“The key factor was playing smart”

Romania’s Bernadette Szocs has reflected upon her 4-0 victory over her round two opponent Shan Xiaona (11-4, 12-10, 12-10, 11-8), revealing that the match actually proved to be much more difficult on the table than the end score-line may reflect:

“It was a lot harder than the result shows; two of the games I only won by two points. I changed the direction of the play really well and changed the tactics constantly to keep her guessing. The key factor was playing smart at the crucial times.” Bernadette Szocs

Play smart, the favourite comment of Spain’s legendary He Zhiwen; in Budapest it applied to Bernadette Szocs (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)

Breathtaking comeback in battle of qualifiers

Women’s Singles Round Two

Both unseeded for the Women’s Singles competition and therefore required to start right at the very beginning in the two-day qualification tournament, Portugal’s Fu Yu and Germany’s Petrissa Solja had both performed well to reach the last 16 of the main event.

However, only one could progress and after an intense duel it was Fu Yu who took the plaudits, recovering from three games down to draw level at 3-3 before saving two match point opportunities in the decider to complete the 4-3 comeback (5-11, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 16-14, 12-10, 13-11).

Sensational recovery from Fu Yu (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Commonwealth champion out

Women’s Singles Round Two

Manika Batra’s fine run has come to an end in Budapest after the Indian qualifier fell at the second stage of the main draw.

A rising prospect and certainly moving in the right direction but on this occasion the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion was simply outclassed by one of the world’s finest players in Chen Meng (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-2).

Manika Batra bids farewell (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Sun Yingsha unfazed

Women’s Singles Round Two

Trailing 1-2 but Sun Yingsha didn’t waste anytime in making a response, hitting back with three consecutive game wins to beat another up-and-coming talent in Liu Gaoyang 4-2 (11-9, 16-18, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-9).

“I believed my game plan even though I lost the second and third games; losing those games made me fight even more.” Sun Yingsha

Quarter-finals spot reserved for Sun Yingsha (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Cool, calm and collected

Women’s Singles Round Two

Displaying great maturity with a nerve-free performance, no.6 seed Chen Xingtong moves through to the quarter-finals with little to worry about after posting a four-nil win against Dutch opponent Li Jie (11-3, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4).

“I had good preparation for this match, she beat my colleague yesterday; she is a very good defender. I played very patiently and waited for the right ball to kill. My coach reminded me also in the breaks take your time and be patient.” Chen Xingtong

Next up for the 21-year-old Chinese star is a meeting with top seed and fellow compatriot Zhu Yuling.

2017 champion negotiates second round encounter with ease (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Major scare but third seeds advance

Men’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

Lam Siu Hang and Wong Chun Ting came close to a quarter-final exit in the men’s Ddoubles draw following a closely contested affair with qualifiers Kou Lei and Wei Shihao of Ukraine and Croatia respectively.

The no.3 seeds from Hong Kong looked to be in some trouble at 1-2 down but they remained level-headed, claiming back-to-back games to seal a 3-2 win (11-6, 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 11-7).

Wong Chun Ting (front) and Lam Siu Hang keep their cool (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Chinese duo eliminate top seeded opponents

Men’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

China’s Liang Jingkun and Xu Xin, seeded fifth, have knocked the top seeded partnership of Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju out of the proceedings in Budapest.

Needing just four games to get the job done (11-8, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6) Liang Jingkun and Xu Xin will face French qualifiers Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson for a spot in the final.

Liang Jingkun (right) and Xu Xin (left) send top seeds home (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Samara withdraws!

Elizabeta Samara has withdrawn from the Seamaster 2019 Hungarian Open after coming down with a virus. The Romanian was due to face Liu Shiwen in the last 16 of the Women’s Singles draw as well as join Bernadette Szocs in Women’s Doubles action later in the day.

Germany’s Patrick Franziska has also withdrawn due to picking up a virus.

How far can he go?

Make sure you don’t miss Hugo Calderano’s exciting Round of 16 encounter with Kristian Karlsson set to take place at 18:00 local time.

Top seeds extend stay

Women’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

Seeded first for the Women’s Doubles competition and thus big favourites to capture the title, China’s Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling are through to the last four following a hard earned 3-1 victory over Singapore’s Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu (13-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8).

Disappointment for hosts as Pota and Ekholm depart

Women’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

Spectators in Budapest were left disappointed at the quarter-finals stage of the Women’s Doubles draw as the host nation’s very own Georgina Pota and Swedish partner Matilda Ekholm experienced defeat at the hands of second seeds Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching.

The no.6 seeds put up a brave fight and made the brighter start of the two pairs but a fine response from their Hong Kong counterparts proved decisive with the match eventually being decided in four games (8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6).

End of the road for Matilda Ekholm (left) and partner Georgina Pota (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Against expectations

Mixed Doubles Quarter-Finals

Unseeded for the competition but Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova will compete in the semi-finals after pulling off a sensational 3-0 victory over the no.3 seeds from Chinese Taipei, Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching (11-8, 14-12, 11-5).

The only previous occasion the two Russians had formed a partnership was last year at the Liebherr 2018 European Championships and now they are in the semi-finals of an ITTF World Tour event!

“This is our second tournament together and things are working brilliant. We found a great rhythm for this match and I think that was key for the success. They were trying to play a bit more aggressively in the second game but we managed to defend that. I just can’t wait to play the semi-final now!” Polina Mikhailova

Semi-finals awaits for Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Journey continues for Hungarian pair

Mixed Doubles Quarter-Finals

Hungary’s Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel are through to the semi-finals of the Mixed Doubles event, delighting the home fans with a terrific showing against the French duo of Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier (11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8).

“What a brilliant start to the day for us. We are really pleased with our performance for this morning; we played the first two strokes of the rally really well; we had lots of quality and good placement. We kept it tight to prevent them attacking us. The first game was really important to go out and play strong and positive as that was their best formation.” Adam Szudi

Over on table 2 the Slovak pair of Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova progress following a “walkover” win against Austria’s Stefan Fegerl and Sofia Polcanova.

Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel march on (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Action resumes

We are back with the latest from the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour and once again there’s plenty to look forward to.

Here’s the schedule for Friday 18th January here.

Improving by the day

Men’s Singles Round One

Required to compete in the two day qualification tournament, for China’s Liang Jingkun that has proved a bonus; he opened his account in the men’s singles event by overcoming Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.11 seed (411, 11-7, 12-10, 12-10, 11-7)

“Coming from the qualification rounds I feel that I am playing better day by day and getting stronger mentally. I performed well in the key moments.” Liang Jingkun

Liang Jingkun gaining in self-belief (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Difficult task but Kristian Karlsson succeeds

Men’s Singles Round One

Confidence a vital ingredient, it would appear that having reached the quarter-finals last year has given Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson a major boost of self-belief; the no.14 seed, he made a very impressive start to his campaign. He overcame the defensive skills of Panagiotis Gionis of Greece in four straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3).

“I played well here last year. Hopefully I can maintain my form. I was playing against one the best defenders in the word, it is always a difficult task. I played well and controlled the game all the way through.” Kristian Karlsson

Chen Xingtong makes intentions clear

Women’s Singles Round One

The winner in 2017, China’s Chen Xingtong made her intentions clear in her opening women’s singles encounter; her speed very much in evidence, the no.6 seed, she accounted for the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova in five games (11-6, 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-2).

“This was my first match today. I needed to get used to the environment. She is a good player, I had to play my best and make changes constantly during the match to surprise my opponent.” Chen Xingtong

Chen Xingtong in imposing form (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Host nation hopes dashed

Women’s Singles Round One

The host nation’s leading player, Georgina Pota, the no.15 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of India’s Manika Batra, the changes in pace made by the Commonwealth Games champion, long pimpled rubber on the backhand, smooth reversed on the forehand never allowed the Hungarian to settle into her preferred fast attacking rhythm; a contest to test the nerves, the minimal two point margin in the seventh game determined the result (10-12, 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10).

“This match was a big tactical battle where I had to adjust and make changes. She started very slowly; then she kept changing the rhythm of the play. In the end I had nerves of steel.” Manika Batra

Petrissa Solja hits form

Women’s Singles Round One

Two close games but then there was not stopping Germany’s Petrissa Solja as she upset the order of merit; she beat Austria’s Sofia Polcanova in four straight games (11-9, 13-11, 11-1, 11-6).

“I am over the moon with my performance so far in this competition, looking forward to the next round; this match the first two games were really important, she was leading in both and I managed to come from behind and win. We know each other really well many points were decided on serve an receive.” Petrissa Solja

Petrissa Solja outstanding in Budapest (Richard Kalocsai)
Xu Xin prevails but Benedikt Duda proves most worthy opponent

Men’s Singles Round One

Mixed doubles success in partnership with Liu Shiwen, followed by an opening round men’s doubles win in harness with Liang Jiangkun, not a single game dropped; it was a different scenario when he faced a spirited German in the guise of Benedikt Duda in the men’s singles opening round. He needed the full seven games to secure victory (1-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-13, 13-15, 11-5).

“This was my first day competing and my third match of the day in a row. I was trying my best all the way through.” Xu Xin

Simon Gauzy tested but victorious

Men’s Singles Round One

The no.13 seed, the favourite  to win but Frenchman Simon Gauzy was well aware that Croatia’s Wei Shihao would prove a most testing opponent; he was correct. He emerged successful but only by the very narrowest of margins (9-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9).

“I had not played in the hall before this is my first match. I knew it will be a hard match as he beat good players to qualify. We had played against each other in Champions League too. I am happy to win my first match, I played well today.” Simon Gauzy

Success for Simon Gauzy but hard fought (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Adventures over for Truls Moregard

Men’s Singles Round One

Sweden’s Truls Moregard, 16 years old, achieved his goal of reaching the main draw of the men’s singles event but he went no further; he was beaten by Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon, the no.12 seed and winner last year at the ITTF Challenge Series Polish Open by Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon (11-9, 11-6, 15-13, 11-8).

“I’ve managed to win four-nil but it was not as easy as it looked. The third game was important to win in order to be able keep him under pressure. He had good variations with his serves and on strokes.” Lim Jonghoon

Ideal choice, doubles partner proves perfect advisor

Men’s Singles Round One

Need someone sitting courtside to give advice with whom you have a good understanding; England’s Liam Pitchford chose the ideal counsellor; colleague Paul Drinkhall, the player with whom he won gold at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the opening round of the men’s singles event he beat China’s Yu Ziyang in four straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7).

“It was a well-constructed first match for Liam. He controlled the game well in the rallies and in the short game too. Also the opponent’s style suited him; for a first match we can’t wish any better results. Paul Drinkhall (Coach)

Liam Pitchford soundly advised by Paul Drinkhall (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Dramatic scenes as Szocs recovers

Women’s Singles Round of 32

A loud cry of sheer relief and a fist pump in the air, these were the scenes as Bernadette Szocs secured her spot in the next round in dramatic circumstances.

Trailing Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu 2-3 on games the no.10 seed from Romania recovered to take the match the full distance, completing the comeback by the narrowest of margins in the final game (11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 13-11, 1-11, 16-14, 15-13).

“I love playing in Budapest the crowd is always behind me and cheering for me; that gives me an extra motivation. It took couple of games the get used to the hall and the bounce of the ball. I had to start a bit slower and play with more spin to be safe but in the end my fighting spirit enabled me to cross the line.” Bernadette Szocs

One-way traffic

Women’s Singles Round of 32

Winner of the Women’s Singles title last year, defending champion Wang Manyu has put her name into last 16 following a commanding outing from the Chinese player in round one.

Coming up against fellow compatriot Chen Ke, no.3 seed Wang Manyu was rarely troubled with three of the four games being decided by a margin of four points or greater (11-7, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4).

Liu Gaoyang steps up to the mark

Women’s Singles Round of 32

Up against the odds in a case of qualifier versus title contender but that didn’t hold Liu Gaoyang back as the unseeded Chinese star claimed a major scalp in the opening round of Women’s Singles action.

Opposing no.5 seed Feng Tianwei of Singapore, Liu Gaoyang took her chances when required in the early stages of the match and ultimately proved the stronger of the two athletes on this occasion (11-8, 9-11, 15-13, 11-5, 11-7).

Rising to the challenge, Liu Gaoyang claims major win (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Another shock defeat for Hong Kong star

Women’s Singles Round One

Exiting against expectations earlier in the day when she and partner Wong Chun Ting fell at the first hurdle of the Mixed Doubles draw, Doo Hoi Kem has suffered her second defeat of the day and consequently her second departure in Budapest.

The Hong Kong medal hopeful, seeded seventh, put up a fight but was second best in the match with Germany’s Shan Xiaona taking the win across six games (5-11, 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5).

“This is her first competition after a year’s break. In the first game, she was not really sure about the tactics but in the break after the first game we made adjustments; her opponent did not feel comfortable at all once we got the plan right.” Jie Schöpp (Coach)

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Qualifiers stun fourth seeds

Men’s Doubles Round One

Required to negotiate the qualification rounds, now Benedikt Duda and Ruwen Filus have guaranteed their spot in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Doubles tournament.

Facing what was on paper a stern challenge in the form of Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Ng Pak Nam but as events unfolded the German duo came away with a convincing win, inflicting a stunning 3-0 defeat upon the no.4 seeds (11-9, 11-9, 11-8).

“This is our first competition together and it’s working really well. Filus can mix it for the opponent in receive of serves and during the rallies with defence and attack. They looked a bit confused and could not adjust to our style. We shut them down completely and controlled the games nicely.” Benedikt Duda

Home advantage but defeat nonetheless

Men’s Doubles Round One

Competing on home soil but Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi failed to find a path through the opening round of the men’s doubles event in Budapest.

The no.7 seeds from Hungary were shown the door by the mixed association pair of Ukraine’s Kou Lei and Croatia’s Wei Shihao, who needed just three games to earn their place in the next round (11-8, 11-7, 11-9).

“It’s good to feel our partnership is improving round by round. We played a touch better today than yesterday. We followed our tactics quite well during this match; the Hungarians could not find the right answers.” Kou Lei

Austrian seeds depart

Men’s Doubles Round One

Austria’s Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn have been knocked out of the Men’s Doubles running, despite establishing an early lead in their opening round fixture.

Fighting back from a 0-1 deficit, French qualifiers Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson won the next three games in succession to defeat the no.8 seeds by a 3-1 score-line (6-11, 11-6, 16-14, 11-5).

“Today we were very strong in serve and receive, we know in doubles that is very important. I think the turning point was game three when the Austrian pair failed to take their chances and lost the game. I felt they lost a little bit of spirit which worked for us fine.” Patrick Chila (Coach)

Journey ends abruptly for Austrian duo (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Balazova and Matelova see off Russian opposition

Women’s Doubles Round One

The Slovak Republic’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova will play their part in the last eight after picking up a 3-1 victory over Russia’s Mariia Tailakova and Olga Vorobeva in round one (11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9).

Next up for the no.5 seeds is a meeting with the no.3 seeded pair from China, Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha.

“The most important was for us to be able to win in the situations when we were uncomfortable. In game four we made a good come back when they took the lead. We adapted quickly; this game secured the match for us, looking forward for the next round.” Barbora Balazova

Barbora Balazova and Hana Matelova on same page, quarter-finals awaits (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Mixed association pair in sync

Women’s Doubles Round One

A formidable pair on the world stage, Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota are through to the second round of Women’s Doubles action following a tight encounter with Irina Ciobanu and Adina Diaconu.

The mixed association partnership were pushed to deuce twice in the match and didn’t slip up on either occasion, sending the Romanian duo out of the competition (13-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-6).

“We had a bumpy first game when we had to save couple of game points; it was really important for us to have a good start. This was our first match and we played against a great Romanian pair. The first match is never easy we will have to improve for the next round.” Zoltan Batorfi (Coach)

Samara and Szocs safely through

Women’s Doubles Round One

Romania will be represented in the quarter-finals of the Women’s Doubles draw with Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs sealing their spot in the next round thanks to an impressive outing on the opening morning in Budapest.

The sixth seeds survived a difficult test at the first hurdle but eventually crossed the finish line, seeing off France’s Laura Gasnier and Carole Grundisch 3-1 (12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6).

“We started the match the right way and won a close first game but thereafter we did not play tactically well for one and a half games. The third game was important to win, we were down but we made a good comeback then we did not make any simple mistakes.” Bernadette Szocs

Elizabeta Samara and Bernadette Szocs progress to last eight (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Favourites untroubled

Women’s Doubles Round One

China’s Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling have negotiated the Round of 16 with little difficulty after posting a perfect 3-0 win against Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Zhang Xuan (11-6, 11-7, 11-8).

A successful start in Budapest and the top seeds will now have the honour of facing the no.8 seeded combination from Singapore, Lin Ye and Yu Mengyu on Friday.

Top seeds crash out!

Mixed Doubles Round One

Named as the no.1 seeded partnership for the Mixed Doubles competition, however, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem have failed to progress beyond the Round of 16.

Against the odds the unseeded French pair of Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier showed great character and ambition to beat the top seeds across four games (13-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-7).

French pair show no.1 seeds how it’s done! (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Chinese duo show class

Mixed Doubles One

Champions at the Seamaster 2018 Austrian Open a couple of months back, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen are off to a solid start at the opening ITTF World Tour event of 2019 following a convincing display in the first round of the Mixed Doubles event in Budapest.

Facing Italian qualifiers Niagol Stoyanov and Giorgia Piccolin, the no.5 seeded Chinese pair needed just three games (11-8, 11-6, 11-6) to set up a quarter-finals clash with Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja.

Hosts off to bright start

Mixed Doubles Round One

Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel have handed the host nation the perfect start to the day in Budapest after the Hungarian pair came through their opening round encounter in style.

Pushed hard in games one and three but the no.8 seeds gave a good account of themselves, eliminating Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching by a 3-1 margin (13-11, 11-6, 1-11, 11-5). The man sitting in the coaches chair for the Hungarian line-up, Peter Aranyosi praised the home fans for their support of the players.

“Our opponents were the only Asian pair who qualified to the main draw, so we had to prepare well for our match. I feel we played more positive in the critical moments and the support of the spectators was just amazing, playing on your home soil is always special.” Peter Aranyosi

Hungarian duo make strong early impressions (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Spanish seeds out in quick fashion

Mixed Doubles Round One

Seeded fourth for the Mixed Doubles draw but Alvaro Robles and Galia Dvorak have fallen at the first hurdle.

The Spanish duo suffered a straight games defeat at the hands of Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja (11-9, 11-5, 14-12), who move through to the last eight at their expense.

Petrissa Solja (left) and Patrick Franziska (right) upset seeding list in round one (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Main event commences

Following two days of qualification action the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour has officially got underway in Budapest.

Take a look at the schedule for Thursday 17th January here.

Vote of thanks for Zoltan Batorfi

Women’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Hungary’s Bernadett Balint and Mercedes Nagyvaradi withstood a spirited recovery by India’s Manika Batra and Archana Girish Kamath to book their place in the main draw (11-6, 11-5, 5-11, 5-11, 11-3); very much the person to thank for the win was coach, Zoltan Batorfi.

“We had amazing start and no difficulties to play against them. We went two-nil up but they responded quickly and levelled the match. We took Zoltan Batorfi’s advice again before the final game and slowed the game down to control the points and place our returns better. It was enough to seal the victory.” Bernadett Balint

A place in the main draw for Bernadett Balint in partnership with Mercedes Nagyvaradi (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Complementing each other

Women’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Different nationalities but in recent times establishing a good understanding, the combination of Russia’s Yana Noskova and Austria’s Sofia Polcanova beat Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte and Danielle Konnsbruck in four games to reserve their main draw place (11-3, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6).

“We believe we are a very good pair and complement each other well. We will it give our best shot in the main draw, I think we can go far; of course it will depend on the draw as well.” Sofia Polcanova

Sofia Polcanova (rear) and Yana Noskova (nearest camera) in impressive form (Photo: Alvaro Diaz)
Sometimes everything just comes together

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Compatriots but never previously doubles partners at an open international tournament, Slovenia’s Deni Kozul and Bojan Tokic (Slovenia) beat Sweden’s Anton Källberg and Truls Moregard (11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8) to secure their main draw place.

“We played together today for the first time and it felt quite good. We had some problems with Moregard’s serves but once we got used to them we were able to take them into the rallies where we were stronger.” Bojan Tokic

Bojan Tokic, a successful partnership formed with Deni Kozul (Photo: Rémy Gros)
A great day

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

A new partnership for the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky and Pavel Sirucek matters gradually gelled. In a full distance five games duel the secured a main draw place by overcoming Brazil’s Eric Jouti and Gustavo Tsuboi (11-6, 3-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6).

“We are working on our partnership as this is the very first time we have played together. Today was a great day, our game and tactics worked well brought success. We will be tested tomorrow for sure in the main draw.” Tomas Polansky

Tomas Polansky partnering Pavel Sirucek for the first time (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Early problems but solutions found

Mixed Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku alongside Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova both emerged success to reserve main draw places but they came perilously close to defeat; both pairs had to recover from two games to nil deficits.

Eventually, Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku overcame Luxembourg’s Luka Mladenovic (12-14, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7); Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova beat Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs (6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-6).

Success but hard fought for Aleksandar Karakasevic (left) and (right) Isabela Lupulesku (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
New look Swedish combination experiences defeat

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round One

Runners up at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Belarus Open in November, the combination of Ukraine’s Kou Lei and Croatia’s Wei Shihao emerged successful in their opening round encounter beating very much a new look Swedish combination. The usual partner for Kristian Karlsson is Mattias Falck, on this occasion it was Jon Persson; the end result a five games defeat (8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 11-8).

“We played well together in our first match, we played the right shots in the right moment . Hopefully we can keep this up today for the later rounds.” Kou Lei

Defeat for Kristian Karlsson (left) and (right) Jon Persson (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Almost taste of own medicine

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round One

At the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Kaisa China Open in Shenzhen, the untried combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles caused a major upset at the semi-final stage by beating China’s Ma Long and Xu Xin; in Budapest they came perilously close to receiving a taste of their own medicine. They eventually overcame Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic and Jan Zibrat by the very narrowest of decisions (11-6, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 12-10).

“This was a hard fought battle going all the way to the deciding points. I feel we played the critical points with more quality and took less risk than them. We were prepared to for rallies; our thinking paid off in the end.” Alvaro Robles

A place in the main draw for Alvaro Robles in partnership with Ovidiu Ionescu (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
United Kingdom in harmony

Women’s doubles preliminary round one

The United Kingdom in harmony, Charlotte Carey of Wales and England’s Maria Tsaptsinos emerged the pair to attract the attention as play commenced in the qualification stage of the women’s singles event. They accounted for Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Natalia Partyka in five games (11-8, 11-7, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8).

“We performed better as a pair today; after taking a two-nil lead it gave us a chance to play safer and more consistently. They had to take more risks which they did; suddenly the result was two-all. We changed things around with the tactics, played more positively in the final game; it worked in our favour.” Charlotte Carey

Disappointment for Natalia Partyka in partnership with Natalia Bajor (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Initial goal achieved

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Four

Coach, Jörgen Persson set Truls Moregard the initial goal of reaching the main draw; his 16 year old Swedish compatriot duly obliged. In the fourth preliminary round he accounted for Belgium’s Florent Lambiet in straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-8, 13-11).

“I was strong in the match on serve and receive that helped me during the key moments. I am delighted to achieve my first goal in this tournament so far.” Truls Moregard

“Truls won most of the key points in this match hence the result says it was an easy match but it was harder then it looked.” Jörgen Persson (Coach).

Service a vital ingredient for Truls Moregard (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Enjoying taste of success

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Four

Winner in Linz at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open, China’s Liang Jingkun clearly enjoyed the taste of victory. In Budapest he booked his place in the main draw courtesy of a six games win in opposition to Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit (11-5, 4-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-7

“He played very strongly today against me so it was a challenging match. I had to give my best to come through. I hope I’ll be able to go far again in the competition like in Austria.” Liang Jingkun

Liang Jingkun, the goal to repeat Austrian success (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Paris verdict avenged

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Four

At the Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup in Paris, Panagiotis Gionis had departed proceedings in the initial group stage, one of the reasons being that he lost to Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi; now two months later he extracted revenge. He succeeded by the very narrowest of margins (12-10, 13-15, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 11-9) and in so doing reserved his place in the main draw.

“I lost the match in the World Cup four-one against him, so I knew it is going to be a hard match and I was prepared for that; the turning point was I think the fourth and the fifth games. I had the bigger heart.” Panagionis Gionis

A strong heart brought Panagiotis Gionis success (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Narrowest of decisions

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Four

Close matches were very much the order of the day but there was none closer than the contest between China’s Zhao Zihao and Lin Yun-Ju; Zhao Zihao emerged successful in a dramatic seven games duel decided by the minimal margin (11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-13, 15-13).

“I lost my match against him in Bulgaria and I wanted my revenge. Mentally I was in a much better place than last year which gave me the edge to be able to win.” Zhao Zihao

Success for Zhao Zhihao in the closest match of the round (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Mixed fortunes for Youth Olympic Games gold medallists

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

Gold medallist in 2010 in Singapore, it was defeat for Gu Yuting; for Chinese colleague Liu Gaoyang who succeeded in Nanjing in 2014 and Sun Yingsha, the winner last year in Buenos Aires, it was success.

Gu Yuting was beaten by compatriot Wang Yidi (9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 11-5). Conversely, Liu Gaoyang overcame Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin (11-6, 12-10, 11-3, 11-6). Sun Yingsha accounted Hu Limei, also from China (4-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10)

Liu Gaoyang en route to beating Yang Xiaoxin (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Form maintained

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

Crowned Commonwealth Games champion in Gold Coast, Australia last April and later in the year voted “Breakthrough Star of the Year”, India’s Manika Batra underlined the fact that her success in 2018 was no flash in the pan. She beat Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-4, 9-11, 11-7) to book her place in the main draw.

“I think went into the match with too much respect, as the match went on I settled down. Once I started to play more accurately and with better placement I felt I had a chance to win. I played quicker to the corners and took my time. Also, I improved my shot selection.” Manika Batra

Manika Batra building on last year’s success (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Patience the key to success

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

Rush, play every return with power and against a defensive player it can prove disastrous, keep calm, be patient and wait for the opportunity to arise and success may well follow. It was the situation for Laura Gasnier of France; she overcame the stalwart backspin skills of Ukraine’s Tetyana Bilenko (11-4, 8-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3) to reserve her place in the main draw.

“Normally I am good against defensive players but lately I have not played against many defensive players so I had to build up my confidence; when I was two-one down I said to myself just slow down play with more spin and wait for the right ball to attack, because she was mixing backspin and float balls really well. This was a good day. I am very happy to make the main draw.” Laura Gasnier

Disciplined performances from Laura Gasnier (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Chen Ke successful but highly self-critical

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

China’s Chen Ke, one of a number of players in China’s rising generation trying to secure a place amongst her nation’s elite, duly emerged success in the third preliminary round of the women’s singles event. She beat Ukraine’s Maragaryta Pesotska in straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8) but is well aware that only sheer perfection will gain her a place in the national team.

“I was not playing to my best ability so I will have to improve my game for the main draw. We played a very close match even though it was four-nil; in this match she was controlling my spin and power really well, so my focus was more on the tactical aspect of the game.” Chen Ke

Chen Ke in search of excellence (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Good draw

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

A place in the main draw secured and secured in an emphatic manner; the Czech Republic’s Hanna Matelova gave one of the most impressive performances in the third preliminary round of the women’s singles event. She beat Hana Matelova bt Nadezhda Bogdanova in four straight games (11-3, 11-4, 11-4, 11-2); a fine effort and somewhat modest about her achievement.

“I am very happy to make the main draw in this tournament. I was lucky enough to avoid all the Chinese players and capitalise on my chance to qualify. Her style of play suited my game very much, all went according to plan.” Hana Matelova

Hana Matelova in outstanding form (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
German star claims major scalp

Men’s singles preliminary round three

One of Germany’s up-and-coming young stars Qiu Dang has chalked up one of the biggest upsets of the qualification tournament yet, eliminating Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in preliminary round three of the Men’s Singles event.

Recovering from a game down, Qiu Dang demonstrated great maturity on his way to a resounding 4-1 victory (6-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 11-5) and will take his place in the fourth round of qualifying where the Slovak Republic’s Wang Yang awaits.

Qiu Dang in scintillating form (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Late comeback bid denied

Men’s singles preliminary round three

Standing firm in the face of danger, Belgium’s Florent Lambiet remains in the hunt for a spot in the main draw after denying a late comeback attempt from Austrian opponent Daniel Habesohn (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 6-11, 11-8).

“It was a tough match I played well, took a quick lead with good tactics that I worked out with my coach Martin Bratanov. He made a recovery after three-one, so I had to change my service and placement; play more to the crossover point. Excited to be in the next round and I am happy to face the challenge.” Florent Lambiet

A thoughtful Daniel Habesohn, beaten by Florent Lambiet (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Who will make the main draw?

Don’t miss the drama of the qualification rounds, watch live with itTV:

Former champion departs

Men’s singles preliminary round three

Crowned Men’s Singles champion in 2017, however, China’s Yan An won’t be making an appearance in the main event in two years on following a crushing defeat against the man who was crowned 2016 European champion in Budapest, Emmanuel Lebesson.

The Frenchman produced an excellent display in preliminary round three, ending his Chinese counterpart’s hopes in six games (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6) to set up a meeting with the Czech Republic’s David Reitspies in the afternoon session of play.

“This city is very special for me I was European champion here and it seems as though I am in good form whenever I come here. The first game was very important, I was 7-9 down I took the game and I was able to keep him under pressure. I am happy, it was a good fight, a good spirit today.” Emmanuel Lebesson

Eye on the ball but it was defeat for Yan An (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Victory from the jaws of defeat

Women’s singles preliminary round two

A player known for her expert control on the ball, but the picture wasn’t looking so bright for Tetyana Bilenko in the early stages of her preliminary round two encounter, falling 1-3 behind to Spain’s Maria Xiao.

However, following a tactical shakeup from Bilenko, the Ukraine representative began to claw her way back into the match before eventually getting the job done 4-3 (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5).

“At the start nothing was working for me and I ended up three-one down so I had to change a lot of things. I changed the tactics played to her forehand more and more and mixed the spin more and more; happy to be through to the next round today.” Tetyana Bilenko

Maria Xiao beaten by Tetyana Bilenko (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Early exit for Hong Kong star

Women’s singles preliminary round two

One of Hong Kong’s finest players but Lee Ho Ching’s qualification campaign has been brought to an abrupt end in Budapest after losing out across seven games in her opening fixture of the day.

Leading by two games to one but Lee Ho Ching failed to capitalise on the situation with Romanian opponent Daniela Monteiro Dodean emerging victorious 4-3 (5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5), advancing to the next stage of the competition in the process.

Daniela Monteiro Dodean caused an upset of note by beating Lee Ho Ching (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Determination sends Belarusian through

Women’s singles preliminary round two

Nadezhda Bogdanova has extended her run in the preliminary rounds of the Women’s Singles event following an intense encounter with Germany’s Nina Mittelham.

The Belarusian competitor saw her two games advantage diminish as Mittelham hit back with three game wins of her own to take a 2-3 lead. However, despite the momentum being against her Bogdanova showed great fighting spirit to eventually seal the victory by a 4-3 score-line (12-10, 12-10, 7-11, 7-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8).

“It was big tactical fight today, maybe I was a bit lucky today with nets and edges but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I could see her frustration; that made me more confident to play my game today. I played really well all in all.” Nadezhda Bogdanova

A close call but it was a notable victory for Nadezhda Bogdanova (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
And we’re back

The second day of the qualification tournament is officially underway as the race for the Seamaster 2019 Hungarian Open continues in Budapest.

You can view all of the day’s fixtures here.

Shenzhen defeat avenged

Men’s singles preliminary round two

In late May at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour China Open in Shenzhen, competing on home soil, in the second preliminary round, Zhou Qihao had experienced defeat at the hands of Ukraine’s Kou Lei; in Budapest they met in the same round. On this occasion Zhou Qihao won in six games (11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11).

“I lost to him at the China Open so I was prepared for revenge, I knew I had to serve better than last time so I could attack and keep the pressure on him.” Zhou Qihao

Maintaining national pride

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Earlier in the evening both Sharath Kamal Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran had experienced defeat; as the day closed Harmeet Desai restored national honour; he beat Germany’s Tobias Hippler (11-9, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 9-11, 12-10).

“I took a three-nil lead but every game was very close; unfortunately I lost a little concentration and he came back strong. I had to reset my mind and focus more on the receive game, eventually I was able to seal the match.” Harmeet Desai

Latin American keeps cool

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Six days short of his 26th birthday, facing a player 10 years his senior and one of the very few European pen-hold grip players, Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre maintained his composure to stave off a spirited recovery by Spain’s Jesus Cantero (11-7, 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8).

“A cool head was the deciding factor in the end. I am delighted to make the next round.” Marcelo Aguirre

Marcelo Aguirre resisted a determined recovery by Jesus Cantero (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Tristan Flore adapts

Men’s singles preliminary round two

Good players adapt; that was the situation for Tristan Flore. Advised by Patrick Chila, the 24 year old, who has experienced more than his fair share of injuries, recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang (4-11, 12-14, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9, 12-10)

“Lam Siu Hang was able to handle Tristan’s serves really well. He found himself two-nil down. He had to adapt to the fact the opponent received well. He had to make adjustments that enabled him to win today.” Patrick Chila

Determination, Gustavo Tsuboi wins longest match of day

Men’s singles preliminary round two

Gruelling hard fought matches; there was none to compare with the contest in which Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi eventually overcame Romania’s Cristian Pletea in seven games (11-4, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 10-12, 10-12, 11-8).

The match lasted some 80 minutes!

“I was leading two-nil; then it was a tight match. I missed my chances and he made a come back. In the end I knew I had to play an aggressive game and keep my focus.” Gustavo Tsuboi

Style suits Zsolt Peto

Men’s singles preliminary round two

A clash of styles, very much the reverse, Serbia’s Zsolt Peto found the technical skills of India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran very much to his liking; he emerged successful six games to cause an upset of note (9-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 11-6). On the current men’s world rankings, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran stands at no.31, Zsolt Peto at no.254.

“It is a great victory for me, I was not nervous at all as I was the underdog here. I enjoyed playing against him as his style, it suited me. He had difficulty to receive my serves and I could control most of the points.” Zsolt Peto

Zsolt Peto caused a major upset by beating Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)

Defeat for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, soon after there was more disappointing news for India; Sharath Kamal Achanta was beaten by Pär Gerell (7-11, 11-4, 12-10, 12-10, 4-11, 11-8).

Austria revisited

Men’s singles preliminary round two

Success exactly 11 weeks ago in the second preliminary round of the men’s singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open; in Budapest, when once again facing Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting, the Czech Republic’s David Reitspies repeated the feat. Peter Engel sitting courtside on coaching duty, David Reitspies emerged successful in five games (11-5, 11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7).

“He beat him in Austria earlier; he went into the match with great confidence. He used his serves really well; that allowed him to be even more aggressive. I am proud him and the way he played.” Peter Engel

David Reitspies once again successful against Liao Cheng-Ting (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Proving a point

Men’s singles preliminary round two

A player with a point to prove, no results in the past year to catch the imagination; when facing Portugal’s Jão Geraldo, China’s Yan An showed no mercy. He prevailed in four straight games (11-4, 11-6, 11-4, 12-10)

“He served really well throughout the match but once I got used to them I was in control.” Yan An

A positive start for Yan An (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Good choice for coach

Men’s singles preliminary round two

Need a coach in who can have the greatest trust; for Sweden’s Truls Moregard he had an advisor in whom he could have the ultimate faith, none other than Jörgen Persson, the 1991 world champion. He guided the 16 year old to a five games success against Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej (11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11, 11-8).

“Our aim is the get into the main draw but we will have to take it one step at the time. Great to see Truls playing well here; there is still room for improvement on shot selection and variation. Let’s see what the future holds for us here in Hungary; so far so good.” Jörgen Persson

Truls Moregard en route to success against Lubomir Pistej (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Back to winning ways

Men’s singles preliminary round two

Runner up at the European Championships in consecutive year in 2010 in Ostrava and the following year in Gdansk but in recent time not the best of fortunes on the international scene; Germany’s Patrick Baum was very much a player in form on the opening day in Budapest. He beat Brazil’s Jouti Eric Jouti in four straight games (11-8, 13-11, 11-9, 11-8) to keep a place in the main draw very much alive.

“I felt good today very happy with my performance all together. Looking forward for tomorrow.” Patrick Baum

Narrow margins, Hong Kong duo survives

Mixed doubles preliminary round one

Just one step short of a place in the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching came perilously close to defeat; eventually they survived by the minimal two point margin in the decider (7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 11-9).

The full five games needed to secure victory; it was the same for Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Bernadette Szocs against the French pairing of Emmanuel Lebesson and Carole Grundisch (11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 3-11, 11-6), as it was for Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic and Alex Galic in opposition to the Greek combination of Konstantinos Angelakis and Alkaterini Toliou (8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 13-11).

Difficulties overcome, Kristin Lang prevails

Women’s singles preliminary round one

A testing opening round but once a rhythm was found Germany’s Kristin Lang asserted her authority; she beat Poland’s Magdalena Sikorska in six games (11-5, 11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-5, 12-10).

“She has an awkward style and this was my first match. I was not as smooth as I should be but it was enough for today. Tomorrow is another day so let’s focus on that from now on .” Kristin Lang

A successful opening success for Kristin Lang (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Aneta Maksuti causes major upset

Women’s singles preliminary round one

Listed at no.498 on the current world rankings, Aneta Maksuti caused the biggest upset of the day so far; in the opening preliminary round of the women’s singles event she beat Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam in a tense seven games encounter (11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 3-11, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8).

“I played really well today my backhand and forehand, both were working well. I’ve surprised her playing a lot down the line as well being able to hit a lot of winners as well. Most difficult was to read her serve but once I could see the spin better I felt really confident that helped me in the final game.” Aneta Maksuti

Kamath holds firm

Women’s singles preliminary round one

In an exciting duel between two of the finest teenage stars India and Belarus has to offer it was Archana Girish Kamath who emerged successful over Daria Trigolos in Budapest.

Despite holding a two games advantage, Kamath soon found herself on the brink of defeat as Trigolos responded with three game wins of her own. However, the young Indian took her performance up another level to claim a 4-3 victory (11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9).

“It was a match with lots of turn arounds. I feel it could have gone either way but I believed in myself; towards the end I and played more positively. ” Archana Girish Kamath

Success by the narrowest of margins for Archana Girish Kamath(Photo: Rémy Gros)
“A good start” for home favourite

Women’s singles preliminary round one

Szandra Pergel has negotiated the opening round of qualification with little to fret about with the Hungarian hopeful needed just five games to see off Greece’s Aikaterini Toliou (11-5, 10-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5).

Content with her performance but the 30-year-old home favourite is eyeing further improvement when she returns to the table in the next round:

“A good start to the competition for me today. I played the right way in every game; looking forward for the next round where I can improve my game even more.” Szandra Pergel

Influential coach proves key

Women’s singles preliminary round one

Opening her account in style, Adina Diaconu has progressed to Preliminary Round 2 in the Women’s Singles draw following a fine outing against Singapore’s Lin Ye (12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8) and the young Romanian star outlined the important role her coach played in helping her achieve the win:

“Our partnership worked great. I listened to my coach’s advice all the way through and picked the right moments when I could attack. We worked very well together all went according to the plan.” Adina Diaconu

The coach in question was none other than international colleague Elizabeta Samara, who was particularly impressed with Diaconu’s patient approach to the match:

“Adina was very disciplined all the way through. She chose the right shots at the right time; I am very happy with her performance.” Elizabeta Samara

Lin Ye beaten by Adina Diaconu (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Marathon match finishes in dramatic fashion

Men’s singles preliminary round one

Israel’s Omri Ben Ari and Greece’s Konstantinos Konstantinopoulos played out a thrilling seven game encounter in the opening round of preliminary action in Budapest.

In a topsy-turvy affair neither player was able to register back-to-back game wins over the course of the match with Omri Ben Ari moving through by the narrowest of margins (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 13-11).

Spaniard fights back

Men’s singles preliminary round one

Trailing by a two games deficit but Spain’s Jesus Cantero shows us what he’s all about, fighting back with four game wins in a row to beat Ukraine’s Andrii Grebeniuk 4-2 (7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6, 11-3) in round one.

“I was two-nil down and even down in the third. I had a very slow start. I had to improve my serves and change the spin more often. I improved and then controlled the match.” Jesus Cantero

Experience prevails

Men’s singles preliminary round one

Now 43 years of age, Aleksander Karakasevic is through to the second round of qualifying after producing a fine display against Hungary’s Patrik Juhasz (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7).

Off to a strong start and the Serbian is keen to extend his stay in Budapest for as long as possible:

“I had a good start to the day, I hope I can go a lot further.” Aleksandar Karakasevic

Aleksandar Karakasevic, as determined as ever (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)
Play up and running

Men’s singles preliminary round one

The first day of qualification action is underway in Budapest and the host nation has already been given one result to celebrate with Csaba Andras coming through his Men’s Singles Preliminary Round 1 match with flying colours.

Prevailing over Slovak opponent Alexander Valuch by a convincing 4-0 margin (11-8, 11-9, 13-11, 11-7), Andras has the honour of facing a difficult adversary in the next round in Germany’s Patrick Baum.

“I came to the match very well prepared. I watched his matches time and again. We had the tactics spot on and all was perfect; looking forward the match against Patrick Baum tonight.” Csaba Andras

World Tour 2019 Seamaster Hungarian Open Hungary Budapest

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open