Tournaments

17 Feb 2019

Enjoy the unmissable moments live from Lisbon with the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open taking place from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th February.

Liang Jingkun powers way to gold

Men’s Singles Final

An all-Chinese final, Liang Jingkun, the no.3 seed, beat colleague, Lin Gaoyuan, the top seed, to claim the men’s singles title. He emerged successful in five games (6-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-7, 11-6).

It was a contest in which one player took his chances and the other missed opportunities. In the second game, Liang Jingkun saved one game point, in the third he succeeded on his fourth game point. Close wins, confident, he dominated the fourth before in the fifth winning the first three points. Lin Gaoyuan called “Time Out”; Liang Jingkun, using his power to great effect, after losing two consecutive points elected for “Time Out” at 9-6, the break proved fruitful.

He won the next two points and thus claimed the second men’s singles title of his career at an open international tournament; the only other instance being some three months ago in November on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour in Linz.

A display of power secured gold for Liang Jingkun (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Hina Hayata beat Honoka Hashimoto to claim gold

Women’s Singles Final

Hina Hayata, the no.11 seed, eventually overcame Japanese national team colleague, Honoka Hashimoto, the no.6 seed in seven games (9-11, 8-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8) to win the women’s singles title.

Crucially, trailing by two games to one, Hina Hayata secured the fourth game; it was a game in which she led 8-6, before Honaka Hashimoto recovered to level matters at 10-all. Hina Hayata secured the next two points, won the game and dominated the fifth before stalwart defence combined with controlled forehand top spin attacking play saw Honoka Hashimoto level the overall match score. A decisive seventh game beckoned, at the change of ends Hina Hayata led 5-2 and then extended the advantage to 7-2. She lost the next two points. She called “Time Out”. Tension rose, Honoka Hashimoto never gave an inch. Hina Hayata remained resolute, at 10-8 she held two match points. She converted at the first attempt.

It was for Hina Hayata her third women’s singles success at an open international tournament; on the ITTF World Tour she had won in 2016 in Melbourne, in 2017 at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament she had prevailed in Almeria.

Hina Hayata maintained her outstanding form (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin at the first attempt

Men’s Doubles Final

Four teenagers on duty, two pairs who had been required to qualify, the verdict went in favour of China’s Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin; they beat Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda in four games to arrest the men’s doubles title (5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7).

Adept over the table, excelling in short play and imparting heavy top spin rotation with the first attacking stroke, the very basis of good doubles play, Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin established a two games to one lead but as they saw the winning post there were some tentative moments. In the fourth game they went ahead 4-1, the Japanese camp called “Time Out” but the advantage was with China as they extended the lead. Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda fought, they reduced the deficit to 9-6 after winning five points in a row. The Chinese duo elected for “Time Out”, they lost the next point but they lost no more. The title was secured; for Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin, as a pair, it was their first ever men’s doubles gold at an open international tournament.

The boys’ doubles podium (left to right) Shunsuke Togami, Yukiya Uda, Xu Yingbin and Cao Wei (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing recover to clinch title

Women’s Doubles Final

Required to compete in the qualification tournament, China’s Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing won the women’s doubles title, beating Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.4 seeds in the final (8-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-2).

All at sea in the opening two games, gradually the Chinese duo found their feeling for the ball and a rhythm to their play. Crucially, leading 8-5 in the third game they elected for “Time Out”; it proved a prudent move; they secured the game before in the fourth establishing a 6-2 lead. The Hungarians recovered, at 9-all calling “Time Out”; the next two points went to Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing, the tide had turned. In the vital fifth game Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing established a 4-2 lead, they never looked back, they did not surrender another point. The title was secured, their first ever as a pair at an open international tournament.

Medallists in the girls’ doubles event (left to right) Dora Madarasz, Szandra Pergel, Yang Huijing, Fan Siqi (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Who are you rooting for?

Twists and turns, Liang Jingkun negotiates thriller

Men’s Singles Semi-Finals

Bringing the semi-finals action to a close was an absolute thriller of a battle in the Men’s Singles draw as China’s Liang Jingkun and Liu Yebo played out a seven game epic.

The early momentum lied in Liu Yebo’s court with the qualifier claiming three of the opening four games, but back-to-back game successes for Liang Jingkun saw the no.3 seed force one final game. Then at 1-5 down in the decider Liang Jingkun pulled off a major comeback, winning 10 of the following 14 points to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (10-12, 10-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-2, 11-7, 11-9).

Chinese hopes dashed

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

The Women’s Singles trophy will be awarded to Japan after no.6 seed Honoka Hashimoto saw off unseeded qualifier Li Jiayuan in five games (7-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-8, 11-3), ending China’s title ambitions in the category. Honoka Hashimoto will meet Hina Hayata for the title later today.

Li Jiayuan falls at penultimate hurdle (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Journey ends for Vladi

Men’s Singles Semi-Finals

Booking a spot in the Men’s Singles gold medal contest proved one step too far for Vladimir Samsonov with the Belarusian losing out to Chinese top seed Lin Gaoyuan in a spectacular affair. Despite holding a lead by the close of game three Vladi couldn’t quite find the finishing touch as Lin Gaoyuan took his game up another notch, sealing the win by a 4-2 margin (11-7, 11-13, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).

Tough start but Hina Hayata pulls through

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

Japan’s Hina Hayata is the first player to put her name into the Women’s Singles final in Lisbon following a strong semi-final outing against Chinese qualifier Hu Limei: falling behind early in the tie but no.11 seed Hayata made the perfect response, claiming the next four games in a row to move through (10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).

Final day in Lisbon

The closing day of play in Lisbon has arrived, you can check out the fixture line-up here.

Emphatic performance

Mixed Doubles Final

Focused, in no mood for charity, China’s Lin Gaoyuan and Liu Shiwen, the top seeds, donned the mixed doubles crown in style; at the final hurdle they beat Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.2 seeds, in three straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-4).

The top step of the podium means that both Lin Gaoyuan and Liu Shiwen add to the success enjoyed last year on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour. On home soil in Shenzhen, Lin Gaoyuan won in partnership with Chen Xingtong; later in the year Liu Shiwen struck gold when she joined forces with Xu Xin in Linz.

Runners up spot for Lubomir Pistej (left) and (right) Tatiana Kukulkova (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Major upsets

Men’s Doubles Semi-Finals

Shocks abounded at the semi-final stage of the men’s doubles event, the top two seeded pairs both fell; moreover both lost to pairs who had been required to compete in the qualification tournament.

Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the top the success suffered against Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda (9-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6); Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seeds, departed at the hands of Chinese colleagues, Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin (14-12, 11-7, 6-11, 11-9).

Narrow margin

Women’s Doubles Quarter-Final

Victory by the very narrowest of decisions, Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.4 seeds, eventually emerged successful in their women’s doubles semi-final contest; they beat Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean and Elizabeta Samara in a nail-biting five games contest (3-11, 11-4, 11-6, 13-15, 13-11).

In the final they meet China’s Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing, a pair required to compete in the preceding qualification tournament; they beat Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen and Li Yu-Jhun, also qualifiers, in three straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-9).

Partnering Daniela Monteiro-Dodean, a semi-final women’s doubles defeat for Elizabeta Samara by the narrowest of margins (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Recovery of the day

Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Winner three months ago on the ITTF World Junior Circuit when he succeeded in Hungary, China’s Liu Yebo, required to compete in the preceding qualification tournament, performed the recovery of the day. At the quarter-final stage of the men’s singles event, he lost the first three games against Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.19 seed, before fighting back to win the last three (6-11, 5-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4).

In the penultimate round he faces colleague Liang Jingkun; at the quarter-final stage he ended the adventures of compatriot Niu Guankai (11-8, 11-1, 11-4, 11-7).

Meet again

Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Just under one month ago they met at the quarter-final stage at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open; now they are scheduled to meet again, only this time it will be in the semi-finals.

In the round of the last eight, China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the top seed, beat the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirecek, the no.21 seed (11-4, 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6); Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.4 seed, accounted for Xu Yingbin, also from China and required to compete in the qualification tournament. Vladimir Samsonov prevailed in five games (11-13, 11-9, 11-2,13-11, 11-3).

Xu Yingbin beaten by Vladimir Samsonov (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Defensive skills eventually prevail

Women’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto, the no.6 seed, recovered from a three games to one deficit to beat Chinese qualifier Fan Siqi; her defensive qualities eventually prevailing (12-10, 7-11, 4-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8).

In the penultimate round another aspiring Chinese opponent required to qualify awaits; she meets Li Jiayuan. In the round of the last eight she beat Miyu Kato, the no.5 seed and like Honoka Hashimoto from Japan (11-7, 16-14, 15-17, 11-4, 10-12, 11-5).

Hina Hayata on fire

Women’s Singles Quarter-Finals

There was no stopping Hina Hayata at the quarter-final stage of the women’s singles event; the no.11 seed, she beat Hungary’s Georgina Pota, the no.8 seed, in four straight games surrendering a mere 12 points (11-6, 11-2, 11-2, 11-2).

At the semi-final stage, she meets Chinese defender, Hu Limei; required to compete in the qualification tournament, she beat Saki Shibata, the no.3 seed, in an exacting seven games duel (10-12, 13-11, 13-15, 11-8, 6-11, 14-12, 11-6).

Hina Hayata on her knees but by no means out (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Successful in Belgium, now in Lisbon

Under 21 Men’s Singles final

The winner in both 2017 and 2018 in Belgium, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami emerged victorious in the under 21 men’s singles final; a most imposing display, he beat China’s Xiang Peng in three straight games (12-10, 12-10, 11-7).

Crowned 2018 Asian junior champion last August in Myanmar, it was the first appearance for Xiang Peng at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament.

A determined Shunsuke Togami en route to victory (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Fan Siqi thwarts brave recovery to win gold

Under 21 Women’s Singles Final

The women’s singles runner up on the 2014 ITTF World Tour in Argentina, when beaten in the final by colleague He Zhoujia, China’s Fan Siqi resisted a brave recovery by Romania’s Adina Diaconu to clinch the under 21 women’s singles title (11-8, 12-10, 2-11, 8-11, 11-9).

It is the first such title for Fan Siqi on either the ITTF World Tour or at ITTF Challenge Series tournaments; for Adina Diaconu she fell agonizingly just one step short of repeating her 2017 success in Croatia.

Fan Siqi withstood a brave recovery from Adina Diaconu (Photo: Rita Taborda)
China guaranteed final place

Men’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

A place for China in the final of the men’s doubles event is guaranteed; at the semi-final stage in the lower half of the draw Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan alongside Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin both emerged successful.

Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan, the no.2 seeds, beat Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama and Masaki Takami (11-6, 11-3, 11-2); similarly Cao Wei and Xu Yingbin overcame Germany’s Kilian Ort and Qiu Dang (11-6, 11-5, 11-2).

Portuguese hopes end

Men’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

The last remaining hopes for a place on the podium for the host nation ended at the quarter-final stage of the men’s doubles event; Diogo Carvalho and João Geraldo, the no.8 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the top seeds (11-6, 12-10, 11-9).

At the semi-final stage Diogo Carvalho and João Monteiro meet qualifiers, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda; in the round of the last eight, they overcame Slovakia’s Samuel Kaluzny and Lubomir Pistej (1-11, 12-10, 13-11, 11-13, 11-5).

Nandor Ecseki (left) and (right) Adam Szudi ended Portuguese hopes (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Twice European champions cause quarter-final upset

Women’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

Crowned European champions in Stuttgart in 2009, then again in Herning in 2012; Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean and Elizabeta Samara caused the biggest upset in the quarter-final round of the women’s doubles event. The no.5 seeds, they beat Japan’s Satsuki Odo and Saki Shibata, the no.2 seeds and winners last year in both Belarus and Belgium, in four games (11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9).

In the penultimate round they meet Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel, the no.4 seeds; at the quarter-final stage they ended Portuguese hope; they accounted for Leila Oliveira and Shao Jieni, the no.8 seeds (7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-7).

Defeat for Shao Jieni (left) and (right) Leila Oliveira at the hands of Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Differing fortunes for Chinese Taipei

Women’s Doubles Quarter-Finals

Winners the previous day in opposition to the top seeded Hong Kong partnership of Ng Wing Nam and Minnie Soo Wai Yam; Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Wen and Li Yu-Jhun continued their winning ways at the quarter-final stage of the mixed doubles event. They beat Poland’s Natalia Bajor and Natalia Partyka, the no.6 seeds, in four games (11-9, 12-14, 11-9, 11-9).

Success for Huang Yu-Wen and Li Yu-Jhun but there will be no all Chinese Taipei semi-final; colleagues Huang Hsin and Yang Huijing experienced defeat at the hands of China’s Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing (11-5, 12-10, 11-6).

Exciting prospect but Wang Chuqin exits

Men’s Singles Round Three

Just 18 years of age, Wang Chuqin is a name that carries a lot of excitement for the future of Chinese table tennis but his campaign in Lisboa was brought to a halt in the last 16. Putting up a brave fight Wang Chuqin gave another impressive account of himself, however, the plaudits on this occasion went to his national colleague Liang Jingkun (11-4, 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5).

Quadri Aruna withdraws due to injury

Men’s Singles Round Three

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna will play no further part at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open after pulling out of his Men’s Singles fixture with Pavel Sirucek. Holding a two games advantage the no.5 seed lost three games on the bounce to his Czech rival before officially withdrawing from the match through injury (8-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, 11-0). Everyone at the ITTF wishes Aruna a speedy recovery.

Dominant display from Belarusian legend

Men’s Singles Round Three

Vladimir Samsonov continues to show his strength on the world stage after the 42-year-old star produced a magnificent performance to reach the quarter-finals of the Men’s Singles draw. Untroubled throughout, the Belarusian cruised past Slovenian player Deni Kozul in straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-8, 11-3) – how far can he go in Lisboa?

Quarter-finals awaits, Vladimir Samsonov speeds through (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Shocks departures continue

Women’s Singles Round Three

Need more time to get your head around Liu Shiwen’s shock exit? Well there’s another big departure to report with second seed Hitomi Sato also crashing out in the last 16: the Japanese player was simply outclassed by unseeded Chinese competitor Fan Siqi (11-9, 9-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-8), who is making a name for herself with her impressive showing thus far in Lisboa.

Fan Siqi making a name for herself (Photo: Rita Taborda)

We’ve also lost the no.4 seed from the title race with Romania’s Elizabeta Samara losing out to another Chinese qualifier in Li Jiayuan (11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8).

Dramatic exit, Liu Shiwen stunned

Women’s Singles Round Three

Talk about a shock and a half, the top seed Liu Shiwen has fallen at the third stage of the Women’s Singles draw in Lisboa! Despite establishing an early lead Liu Shiwen couldn’t keep up with her opponent as Japan’s Hina Hayata, seeded 11th, stormed to a commanding 4-2 win over one of China’s finest (9-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8).

In the quarter-finals Hina Hayata will face Georgina Pota.

Eighth seed makes top eight

Women’s Singles Round Three

Hungarian star Georgina Pota, who entered the draw as the no.8 seeded player, will achieve a top eight finish in Lisboa following a fine display in her round three meeting with Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsin: holding the upper hand from start to finish Pota needed just four games to bring the qualifier’s journey to a close (11-7, 11-7, 14-12, 11-9).

Georgina Pota continues progress in Lisboa (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Liu Shiwen or Hina Hayata?

Two big names in the Women’s Singles draw, but who do you think will move through to the quarter-finals?

Seeding expectations fulfilled

Mixed Doubles Semi-Finals

Named as the top two seeded partnerships, Lin Gaoyuan and Liu Shiwen will meet Lubomir Pistej and Tatiana Kukulkova in the Mixed Doubles final after the Chinese and Slovak outfits successfully negotiated their semi-final encounters on day two.

Taking on Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz in the upper section of the draw, Lin Gaoyuan and Liu Shiwen once again performed excellently alongside one another to claim a 3-1 win (11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 13-11) while Lubomir Pistej and Tatiana Kukulkova saw off Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku in a thrilling full distance battle (11-7, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6).

Mixed success for Chinese hopefuls

Under 21 Women’s Singles Semi-Finals

China’s Fan Siqi will take her place in the Under 21 Women’s Singles final following a commanding 3-0 victory over Japan’s Yumeno Soma (11-6, 11-4, 11-7), however, in the upper half of the draw China tasted defeat as Wu Yangchen missed out on achieving a major scalp against Romania’s Adina Diaconu (11-8, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7, 11-6).

The event will conclude today at 4.40pm local time.

Second seed out of running

Under 21 Men’s Singles Semi-Finals

The highest seeded player left remaining in the competition Austria’s Andreas Levenko, seeded second, has been eliminated at the penultimate stage of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event, exiting to Japan’s Shunsuke Togami in four games (12-10, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8).

Over in the other semi-final Xiang Peng prevailed against fellow Chinese competitor Liu Yebo (12-10, 11-5, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6). The final will be contested later today at 4.40pm local time.

Action resumes

Day two has arrived – take a look at the upcoming fixtures here.

Surprise semi-finalists

Mixed Doubles Quarter-Finals

Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz alongside Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku emerged the surprise pairs to book penultimate round places. Both required to qualify, at the quarter-final stage Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz beat fellow qualifiers Germany’s Kilian Ort and Wan Yuan (5-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8); Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku overcame Egypt’s Omar Assar and Dina Meshref, the no.3 seeds (11-5, 11-4, 8-11, 8-11, 11-8).

Meanwhile, in the corresponding quarter-finals it was mixed fortunes for China. Lin Guoyuan and Liu Shiwen, the top seeds, beat Hungary’s Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel, the 5 seeds (11-7, 11-9, 11-9); conversely Wang Chuqin and Yang Huijing, the no.8 seeds, experienced defeat at the hands of Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.2 seeds (11-9, 11-5, 5-11, 11-13, 11-8).

A successful day for Lin Gaoyuan concluded with a mixed doubles semi-final place being booked in partnership with Liu Shiwen (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Imposing performances

Men’s Singles Round Two

Intentions clear, China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the top seed and colleague Liang Jingkun, the no.3 seed, alongside Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.4 seed, emerged successful in their second round men’s singles encounters with a degree of style.

Lin Gaoyuan beat Portugal’s João Geraldo, the no.19 seed (11-4, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7), Liang Jingkun overcame Swedish qualifier, Elias Ranefur (11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-7). Likewise, Vladimir Samsonov also ended the progress of player who had been required to compete in the preliminary stages. He accounted for England’s Tom Jarvis (11-3, 11-9, 11-5, 11-4).

Euphoria short lived

Men’s Singles Round Two

A stunning victory of Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.2 seed, in the opening round (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 15-13, 11-4); one round later it was defeat for Japan’s Shunsuke Togami; he was beaten by China’s Liu Yebo (14-12, 7-11, 13-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8).

An unexpected name to progress to the third round, in the lower half of the draw there were two more; both qualifiers, China’s Niu Guankai beat Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, the no.7 seed (11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 4-11, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10), Germany’s Qiu Dang overcame Ecuador’s Alberto Miño, the no.30 seed (13-15, 11-5, 9-11, 3-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-3).

Ovidiu Ionescu beaten by Niu Guankai (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Impressive teenagers

Men’s Singles Round Two

Sweden’s Truls Moregard and China’s Xu Yingbin, both in their teenage years, were the players to impress as play commenced in the second round of the men’s singles event. Both qualifiers, Truls Moregard beat Sun Wen, like Xu Yingbin from China (11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8), Xu Yingbin accounted for Pavel Platonov of Belarus, the no.27 seed (9-11, 9-11, 13-11, 11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 11-3).

Notable performances and there were two more to catch the eye. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek, the no.21 seed, overcame Italy’s Mihai Bobocica, the no.11 seed (12-10, 11-5, 11-4, 13-11); Slovenia’s Deni Kozul, the no.32 seed, accounted for Japan’s Masaki Takami (11-8, 9-11, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7), the player who in the opening round had beaten the host nation’s Lubomir Jancarik, the no.14 seed (10-12, 2-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3, 13-11).

Hitomi Sato on the knife-edge

Women’s Singles Round Two

The no.2 seed, Hitomi Sato duly booked her place in the third round of the women’s singles event but facing 14 year old Japanese colleague, Satsuki Odo, the no.17 seed, she almost came to grief; she emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 12-10, 11-9).

Eventual success for Hitomi Sato, for the other leading names in the women’s singles event, earlier  it had also been second round success but in less tense situations. China’s Liu Shiwen, the top seed, beat Portugal’s Shao Jieni, the no.32 seed (11-6, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9), Japan’s Saki Shibata, the no.3 seed, overcame Lily Zhang of the United States, the no.31 seed (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 7-11, 11-5). Meanwhile, Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the no.4 seed, halted the aspirations of Nadezhda Bogdanova of Belarus (11-5, 6-11, 17-15, 117, 11-7).

Satsuki Odo, so close (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Hard fought wins

Women’s Singles Round Two

Tense moments, as play progressed in the lower half of the draw in the women’s singles second round, Poland’s Natalia Bajor alongside China’s Li Jiayuan and Fan Siqi attracted the attention. All qualifiers all progressed.

Closest call was that experienced by Natalia Bajor, eventually she overcame the defensive skills of Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova by the very narrowest of decisions (13-15, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10). Rather less dramatically, in six games engagements, Li Jiayuan beat Japan’s Ayami Narumoto (11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6), Fan Siqi ousted colleague Guo Yuhan (6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 11-2, 11-9).

Qualifiers progress

Women’s Singles Round Two

Required to qualify, as play commenced in the second round of the women’s singles event, Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsin and Su Pei-Ling alongside China’s Hu Limei and Kuai Man all reserved third round places.

Huang Hsin beat Russia’s Yana Noskova, the no.20 seed (11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7), Su Pei-Ling ended the hopes of Sweden’s Linda Bergström, the no.25 seed (11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7). Similarly, Hu Limei overcame colleague and fellow qualifier Huang Yingqi (11-7, 11-2, 11-9, 11-7), Kuai Man accounted for Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.10 seed (11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 10-12, 11-6).

Top pairs make successful start

Mixed Doubles Round One

Top seeds and clear favourites for mixed doubles gold, China’s Lin Gaoyuan and Liu Shiwen made the best possible start in their quest to secure the top step of the podium. They beat Poland’s Marek Badowski and Natalia Bajor in three straight games (11-4, 11-6, 11-9).

Likewise there was success for the second seeds; Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Tatiana Kukulkova overcame Austria’s Thomas Grininger and Karoline Mischek (11-9, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10).

Success for Lubomir Pistej in partnership with Tatiana Kukulkova (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Hungarians in harmony

Mixed Doubles Round One

Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz caused the biggest upset in the opening round of the mixed doubles event; they beat Laurens Tromer and Britt Eerland of the Netherlands, the no.4 seeds, in three straight games (11-9, 11-8, 11-6).

Furthermore they were not the only pair to upset the order of merit; Germany’s Kilian Ort and Wan Yuan accounted for Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Camila Arguelles, the no.6 seeds (11-8, 10-12, 11-3, 11-6), Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic and Izabela Lupulesku overcame the host nation’s Diogo Carvalho and Shao Jieni, the no.7 seeds (11-5, 5-11, 14-12, 11-9).

Opening round defeat for second seed

Men’s Singles Round One

Runner up some three months ago in Belarus when beaten by China’s Zhao Zihao, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami caused the biggest upset in the opening round of the men’s singles event; he beat Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, the no.2 seed (11-6, 10-12, 11-9, 15-13, 11-4).

Defeat for Jonathan Groth but not for China’s Liang Jingkun, likewise successful three months ago when he had succeeded on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour in Austria. In the opening round, the no.3 seed, he accounted for Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko in four straight games (11-3, 12-10, 11-5, 12-10).

Shunsuke Togami who caused a major upset by beating Jonathan Groth (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Announcing arrival

Men’s Singles Round One

Reigning world junior champion, keeping the pen-hold grip style of play alive; China’s Xu Haidong was very much in form in the opening round of the men’s singles event. He beat Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki in a most imposing manner (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5) to reserve his second round place.

Likewise colleagues, Zhang Yudong and Liu Yebo impressed. Zhang Yudong beat Austria’s Stefan Fegerl, the no.9 seed (11-6, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6); Liu Yebo ousted Russia’s Alexey Liventsov, the no.26 seed (11-4, 11-6, 11-6, 11-9). Success against the odds for aspiring Chinese players, as the opening round advanced, it was the same for two Europeans. Sweden’s Elias Ranefur beat Belgium’s Florent Lambiet, the no.18 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-5), Germany’s Qiu Dang ended the hopes of Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej, the no.11 seed (11-8, 14-12, 7-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7).

Emotions reversed

Men’s Singles Round One

Last year in junior boys’ singles final at the 2018 Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Myanmar, it was delight for China’s Xiang Peng, despair for Chinese colleague, Niu Guankai, his victim in the final. In Lisbon the emotions were reversed.

Niu Guankai caused an upset of note by beating England’s Paul Drinkhall, the no.29 seed and the winner on the ITTF World Tour in 2014 in Spain (7-11, 12-10, 11-3, 6-11, 11-7, 11-8); by the very narrowest of margins, Xiang Peng was beaten by Egypt’s Omar Assar, the no.8 seed (12-10, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 12-10).

Leading Names Progress

Men’s Singles Round One

Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, alongside Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Austria’s Daniel Habesohn all enjoyed opening round men’s singles success.

However, all endured testing times; Vladimir Samsonov, the no.4 seed, withstood a spirited recovery by the host nation’s Diogo Silva before emerging successful (12-10, 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 9-11, 11-4). Similarly, Daniel Habesohn, the no.6 seed, needed six games to beat Russia’s Aleksandr Tiutriumov (11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 12-14, 11-6), whilst Quadri Aruna, the no.5 seed, had to recover from an opening round deficit against Sadi Ismailov, also from Russia (6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 11-5).

Form maintained

Men’s Singles Round One

Impressive in the qualification tournament, India’s Amalraj Anthony, China’s Xu Yingbin and England’s Tom Jarvis continued their good form as the opening round of the men’s singles event progressed. All upset the order of merit.

Xu Yingbin beat Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, the no.17 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6), whilst both Tom Jarvis and Amalraj Anthony ended Belgian hoped. Tom Jarvis accounted for Robin Devos, the no.24 seed (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 12-14, 11-8), Amalraj Anthony ended the hopes of Martin Allegro, the no.28 seed (11-6, 14-12, 11-13, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8).

Amalraj Anthony in fine form once again (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Sun Wen, the Chinese name to note

Men’s Singles Round One

Lin Gaoyuan, the top seed, made a positive start to his campaign; he beat Austria’s David Serdaroglu (11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10, 11-7) but the Chinese player to attract the attention was Sun Wen, new to the international scene, he accounted for Russia’s Alexander Shibaev, the no.21 seed (12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-3).

An early upset and there was another, Sweden’s Truls Moregard overcame Brazil’s Eric Jouti, the no.13 seed (11-9, 5-11, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-6, 11-5). Good news for Sweden, there was also good news for the hosts; João Geraldo, the no.19 seed, made a successful start to his ventures. He recorded an opening round win against Germany’s Tobias Hippler (11-1, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6).

Japanese stars show their class

Women’s Singles Round One

The Japanese trio of Hitomi Sato, Honoka Hashimoto and Satuki Odo have all negotiated their opening round fixtures with little to fret about.

Calm and collected as always no.2 seed Hitomi Sato accounted for Slovak player Tatiana Kukulkova 4-1 (11-2, 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4) while no.6 seed Honoka Hashimoto and no.17 seed Satsuki Odo saw off Portugal’s Liu Yangzi (11-5, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6) and Norway’s Ma Wenting (6-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6).

Deft changes of service and defensive skills potent (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Natalia Bajor shines

Women’s Singles Round One

Poland will feature in the last 32 of the Women’s Singles draw after Natalia Bajor defied the odds by eliminating no.14 seed Dina Meshref at the first hurdle (11-4, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7). However, there was some disappointment of note for Poland as Natalia Partyka, seeded 15th, fell to a straight games defeat in her meeting with China’s Fan Siqi (11-2, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6).

Never in doubt

Women’s Singles Round One

Saki Shibata and Elizabeta Samara, seeded third and fourth respectively, will compete in the second round of Women’s Singles action following comfortable victories for the Japanese and Romanian competitors.

Neither player dropped a single game as Saki Shibata proved too strong for Kim Vermaas of the Netherlands (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9) and Elizabeta Samara ousted unseeded Japanese player Haruna Ojio (11-4, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8).

A positive start for Elizabeta Samara (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Qualifier turns up the heat

Women’s Singles Round One

Trailing by a two games margin but Chinese Taipei qualifier Huang Hsin would not be beaten at the first hurdle, hitting back with four consecutive game wins to bring no.12 seed Ng Wing Nam’s campaign to an abrupt end (8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4).

Liu Shiwen sets early pace

Women’s Singles Round One

Heading to Lisboa as the no.1 seeded player, Liu Shiwen is off to a bright start in the Women’s Singles event: rarely troubled the Chinese star quickly saw off an opening round challenge from India’s Madhurika Patkar (11-3, 11-4, 11-2, 11-2).

Seeds tumble

Men’s Doubles Round One

There will be no spot in the quarter-finals for the partnerships seeded third to fifth as qualifiers took the spotlight in round one.

Seeded third, Belgium’s Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Germany’s Kilian Ort and Qiu Dang (11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-7) while the no.4 seeds Marek Bodowski and Patryk Zatowka of Poland were eliminated by Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda (11-9, 13-15, 11-9, 11-8). The pair occupying the no.5 spot, India’s Sanil Shetty and Manav Vikash Thakkar lost out to Japanese opponents Yuki Matsuyama and Masaki Takami in straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-6).

Early scare but progress achieved

Men’s Doubles Round One

Considered as one of the big favourites to lift the trophy but second seeds Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan came close to an opening round exit in the Men’s Doubles draw. The Chinese pair were forced to recover from a 1-2 deficit on their way to a narrow 3-2 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yang and Sun Chia-Hung (11-6, 11-13, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5).

Portuguese partnership battles through

Women’s Doubles Round One

Much to the delight of the home fans in Lisboa, Portugal’s very own Leila Oliveira and Shao Jieni sealed their spot in the quarter-finals after seeing off a late recovery from the Swedish pair of Filippa Bergand and Linda Bergström (11-6, 11-9, 2-11, 9-11, 11-4).

No.3 seeds Wu Yue and Lily Zhang won’t be playing any further part – the USA duo succumbed to a four game defeat against China’s Fan Siqi and Yang Huijing (11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8).

Host nation cheers as Shao Jieni (left) and Leila Oliveira (right) move through (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Top seeded duo depart

Women’s Doubles Round One

Ng Wing Nam and Soo Wai Yam Minnie were shown early doors in the Women’s Doubles draw with the top seeded pair from Hong Kong falling at the first hurdle!

Responsible for causing the upset was Chinese Taipei qualifiers Huang Yu-Wen and Li Yu-Jhun, who required just the four games (11-7, 3-11, 14-12, 11-6) to extend their progress in Lisboa.

China to feature in title showdown

Under 21 Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

The player line-up for the Under 21 Men’s Singles gold medal match will include a competitor from China after Xiang Peng and Liu Yebo both came out on top in their respective quarter-final encounters. Needing just three games, Xiang Peng eliminated top seed Rares Sipos from the competition (13-11, 11-9, 11-6) while Liu Yebo also posted a straight games success against Lai Chi-Chien (11-4, 11-6, 11-3) – both Chinese players will meet in the semi-finals.

Xiang Peng topples title favourite (Photo: Rita Taborda)

The other semi-final sees Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Austria’s Andreas Levenko do battle in the lower half of the draw after they knocked out Cristian Pletea (9-11, 11-8, 11-4, 3-11, 12-10) and Hiroto Shinozuka (15-13, 6-11, 11-2, 11-9) respectively.

Back from the brink of defeat

Under 21 Women’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Romania’s Adina Diaconu is through to the last four of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event in Lisboa, following a fine comeback display from the no.20 seed. Refusing to throw in the towel, Diaconu fought back from 0-2 down to beat no.4 seed Valeria Shcherbatykh by a 3-2 margin (9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).

Adina Diaconu shows strength (Photo: Rita Taborda)

There was, however, defeat for the other Romanian in action as Andreea Dragoman lost out to fifth seed Yumeno Soma in straight games (12-10, 11-6, 11-8). Elsewhere, top seed Satsuki Odo fell to China’s Wu Yangchen while another Chinese representative in Fan Siqi outclassed Tsai Yu-Chin.

Qualification over, main event commences

After two days of gruelling qualification action the attention turns to the main event as the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open officially gets underway on Friday 15th February.

Once again the master

Mixed Doubles Preliminary Round One

Aleksandar Karakasevic, crowned European champion on four occasions when partnering Lithuania’s Ruta Paskauskiene, proved his is still a master of the art. Partnering Serbian colleague, Izabela Lupulesku, the duo booked their place in the main draw by overcoming Norway’s Borgar Haug and Ma Wenting (11-9, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5).

A fine performance but pride of place went to Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarsz; they beat Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Elizabeta Samara in three straight games (11-8, 11-6, 11-9).

Mixed doubles success for Izabela Lupulesku in partnership with Aleksandar Karakasevic (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Mixed fortunes and disappointment

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round Three

It was mixed fortunes for Japan in the men’s doubles third preliminary round, main draw places being at stake. Yuki Matsuyama and Masaki Takami beat Austria’s Thomas Grininger and David Serdaroglu (11-4, 11-5, 11-9); Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda overcame the combination of Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Tobias Rasmussen (11-9, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9). However, for Hiroto Shinozuka and Kakeru Sone it was defeat; they suffered at the hands of China’s Cao Wei and Xu Xingbin (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8).

Meanwhile for host nation it was disappointment; André Silva and Diogo Silva experienced defeat when facing Chinese Taipei’s Li Hsin-Yang and Sun Chia-Hung (12-14, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9).

Swedish duo hits form

Women’s Doubles Preliminary Round Three

Main draw places at stake in the third round of the women’s doubles event, Sweden’s Filippa Bergand and Linda Bergström emerged the partnership in form; somewhat unexpectedly they beat Romania’s Adina Diaconu and Andreea Dragoman (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6).

Impressive from the Romanians, it was very much the same from the Belarus combination of Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos; they kept their nerve to overcome Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh and Mariia Tailakova by the very narrowest of decisions (11-2, 4-11, 6-11, 14-12, 12-10).

Disappointment for Valeria Shcherbatykh in partnership with Mariia Tailakova (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Hiroto Shinosuka upsets seeding

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round Three

Japan’s 15 year old Hiroto Shinosuka was player to attract the attention in the under 21 men’s singles third round; he beat Germany’s Tobias Hippler, the no.7 seed (10-12, 12-10, 11-5, 11-8).

Success for Hiroto Shinosuka and also for the leading names who had advanced to the third round; Romania being very much in evidence. Rares Sipos, the top seed, beat Gerritt Engeman, like Tobias Hippler from Germany (10-12, 11-3, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5); in a similarly hard fought contest Cristian Pletea, the no.3 seed, overcame Belgium’s Florian Cnudde (11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 8-11, 11-6). Not to be outdone, Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.2 seed, ended the hopes of Russia’s Dennis Ivonin (10-12, 11-6, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9).

Chinese duo continue progress

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round Three

China’s Liu Yebo who earlier in the day had beaten Japan’s Yukiya Uda, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-5, 12-10) and colleague Xiang Peng, who had ousted Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.8 seed, the previous day (12-10, 14-12, 11-6), continued their winning ways in the third round of the under 21 men’s singles event.

Liu Yebo accounted for Italy’s Antonino Amato (11-6, 11-5, 11-7), Xiang Peng overcame the Czech Republic’s Jiri Martinko (11-7, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6).

Romanians upset seeding

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round Three

Quarter-final places at stake in the under 21 women’s singles event, Romania emerged centre stage. Andreea Dragoman beat Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.3 seed (11-4, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7), Adina Diaconu ousted Spain’s Zhang Xuan, the no.8 seed (11-4, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7).

Surprise quarter-finalists and there was one more; China’s Wu Yangchen beat Marie Migot of France, the no.6 seed (11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7). Disappointment for Russia but there was success, Valeria Shcherbatykh, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Hungary’s Leonie Hartbrich (11-8, 11-5, 11-8).

Andreea Dragoman caused a major upset by beating Mariia Talakova (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Satsuki Odo sets standard

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round Three

Top seed, Japan’s Satsuki Odo imposed her authority on proceedings in the third round of the under 21 women’s singles event; the top seed, she booked her place in the quarter-finals, beating India’s Archana Girish Kamath in four games (11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 11-2).

Similarly, there was success for her colleague Yumeno Soma; she reserved her quarter-final place courtesy of success against China’s 15 year old Kuai Man (11-7, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10).

Success for Portugal

Diogo Carvalho and Diogo Silva delighted the host supporters as they both booked main draw places by emerging successful in the third men’s singles preliminary round; Diogo Carvalho beat Iran’s Miad Loftijanabadi (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6), Diogo Silva accounted for Japan’s Koyo Kanamitsu (11-2, 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 10-12, 7-11, 11-4).

A seven games win for Diogo Silva, it was the same for Austria’s David Serdaroglu in one of the closest contests of the round. He overcame Germany’s Dennis Klein by the minimal two point margin in the decider (11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9).

Diogo Silva beat Koyo Kanamitsu to reserve a main draw place (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Impressive performances

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

Aspiring Chinese players made their presence felt as the third men’s singles preliminary round progressed. San Linwei beat Spain’s Carlos Franco (11-5, 13-11, 11-9, 11-4), Niu Guankai accounted for Russia’s Denis Ivonin (11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5). Likewise, Cao Wei beat Japan’s Yuki Matsuyama (11-13, 11-6, 13-11, 12-10, 11-3, 11-8), Xiang Peng ended the hopes of the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky (12-10, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9).

Also there was success for promising Swedes; Simon Soderlund overcame Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu (10-12, 11-5, 10-12, 14-12, 11-5, 4-11, 11-9), Truls Moregard recovered from a two games to nil deficit to beat Chinese Taipei’s Yang Heng-Wei (6-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6).

Skills undiminished

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Three

A promising junior 30 years ago, the skills he displayed as teenager were once again as deft as ever in the third men’s singles preliminary round; now 43 years of age, Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic beat Italy’s, at 18 years old less than half his age, in seven games (11-2, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8) to reserve his place in the main draw.

Success for Aleksandar Karakasevic in six games as the men’s singles second preliminary round began; it was the same China’s Zhang Yudong, Russia’s Aleksandr Tiutriumov and Germany’s Steffen Mengel. Zhang Yudong beat Frenchman Tristan Flore (4-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-2, 8-11, 12-10, 11-3), Aleksandr Tiutriumov accounted for Argentina’s Gaston Alto (11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5). Not to be left out, Steffen Mengel ended the progress of Sweden’s Simon Ardvisson (11-6, 3-11, 4-11, 11-7, 2-11, 11-7, 11-6).

Aleksandar Karakasevic, a main draw place reserved (Photo: Jens Oredsson)
Second highest departs

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Listed at no.98 on the women’s world rankings when the draw was made, thus the second highest rated player in the women’s singles qualification tournament, Colombia’s Paula Medina departed proceedings in the second preliminary round. She was beaten by China’s Huang Yingyi, presently listed at no.236 and the runner up last year in the under 21 women’s singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour German Open. Huang Yingyi prevailed in four straight games (11-2, 11-5, 12-10, 11-4).

Similarly as the second preliminary round of the women’s singles event concluded, there were impressive wins for colleagues Hu Limei and Wu Yanchen. Hu Limei beat England’s Maria Tsaptsinos (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5); Wu Yanchen ended the adventures of Belgium’s Lisa Lung (11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-3).

New generation progresses

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

China’s Kuai Man and Chen Yi, the players who currently hold the respective top two positions on the under 15 girls’ world rankings, safely negotiated the second women’s singles preliminary round. Kuai Man beat Sweden’s Jennifer Jonsson 911-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 7-11, 11-5); Chen Yi overcame Argentina’s Camila Arguelles (11-5, 11-9, 11-1, 11-6).

Likewise, also from China, there was success for 21 year old Li Jiayuan but not for colleague Yang Huijng; Li Jiyuan beat Portugal’s Leila Oliveira (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 13-11), Yang Huijing departed at the hands of Romania’s Daniela Monteiro-Dodean (11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7).

Narrow margins for Chinese Taipei

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Hsin-Yang and Sun Chia-Hung won the second round men’s doubles preliminary round closest match; they beat Russia’s Denis Ivonin and Vladimir Sidorenko (8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 15-13). However, for their colleagues, Lai Chi-Chien and Peng Wang-Wei it was the opposite scenario; they experienced defeat by the minimal two point margin. They lost to Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos after holding a two games to nil lead (7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-6).

Somewhat similarly, there were full distance wins for three further partnerships. Hungary’s Bence Majoros and Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen eventually succeeded against China’s Sun Weng and Zhang Yudong (7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-6); Israel’s Omri Ben Ari and Michael Tauber beat Sweden’s Truls Moregard and Elias Ranefur (9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9). Joining the club, Lithuania’s Tomas Miklutis and Alfredas Udra ended the hopes of Belgium’s Florian Cnudde and Thibaut Darcis (11-5, 8-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8).

Guo Yuhan who beat Sakura Mori (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Success continues for Valeria Shcherbatykh and Mariia Tailakova

Women’s Doubles Preliminary Round Two

Wins earlier in the day in their second round under 21 women’s singles contests, Russia’s Valeria Shcherbatykh and Mariia Tailakova continued their winning ways in the second preliminary round of the women’s doubles event. Together, they beat Spain’s Ana Garcia and Zhang Xuan (13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-3).

Meanwhile for Lisa Lung who suffered defeat in the under 21 women’s singles second round, it was better news, partnering Belgian colleague, the duo won the closest match of the round; they beat Sweden’s Erika Fronth and Jennifer Jonsson (8-11, 11-6, 11-13, 11-8, 11-7).

Tobias Hippler wins classic encounter

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round Two

The closest contest of the tournament to date; Germany’s Tobias Hippler, the no.7 seed, resisted a determined challenge by China’s Zeng Beixun, the winner last year of the cadet boys’ singles title at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships to book his third round place. Eventually he prevailed in a titanic fifth game (11-7, 11-4,, 7-11, 9-11, 16-14).

Success by the narrowest of margins for Tobias Hippler, for India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.6 seed, it was the reverse scenario; he suffered by the minimal two point margin in the decider when facing the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky (11-3, 10-12, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9). Less dramatically, Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.2 seed, beat Belgium’s Laurens Devos (11-7, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8), Romania’s Cristian Pletea, the no.3 seed, ended the hopes of Slovakia’s Tibor Spanik (11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10).

Tobias Hippler kept his nerve to beat Zeng Beixun (Photo: Rita Taborda)
World Junior Championships silver medallist departs

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round Two

Winner on the 2018 ITTF World Junior Circuit in Hungary, the runner up in Hong Kong and on home soil in China, Liu Yebo caused a major upset as play began in the second round of the under 21 men’s singles event. He beat Japan’s Yuki Uda, the no.4 seed and runner up just over two months ago at the World Junior Championships in Bendigo. Impressively, Liu Yebo prevailed in straight games (11-5, 11-5, 12-10).

Impressive from Liu Yebo, it was the same from colleague Xiang Peng; accounted for Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica, the no.8 seed (12-10, 14-12, 11-6).

Liu Yebo is scintillating form (Photo: courtesy of Hong Kong Table Tennis Association Ltd.)
Prominent names endure testing times

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round Two

Romania’ Rares Sipos, the top seed and Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chen, the no.5 seed, emerged successful in their second round under 21 men’s singles contests but they were tested.

Rares Sipos had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to beat Frenchman, Bastien Rembert (9-11, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9, 11-5); somewhat differently, Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chen, had to the thwart a brave recovery by China’s Sai Linwei (11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 7-11, 11-4).

Second seed departs, Tsai Yu-Chin causes upset

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round Two

Chinese Taipei Tsai Yu-Chin caused the biggest upset in the second round of the under 21 women’s singles event; she beat Belgium’s Lisa Lung, the no.2 seed, in straight games (11-8, 12-10, 11-8).

The one other prominent name to fall was Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova, the no.8 seed; she was beaten by China’s Fan Siqi (11-3, 11-3, 11-8).

Tsai Yu-Chin beat Lisa Lung (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Valeria Shcherbatykh, the Russian in form

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round Two

Russian players were very much to the fore as the under 21 women’s singles event commenced proceedings on the second day of qualification; pick of the bunch was Valeria Shcherbatykh. She beat Chen Yi, a player on whom China has great hopes being currently listed at no.2 on the Under 15 Girls’ World Ranking. Valeria Shcherbatykh prevailed in five games (11-7, 13-15, 11-9, 11-13, 11-8).

Likewise there was success for colleague Mariia Tailakova, she beat Sweden’s Erika Fronth (6-11, 11-4, 13-11, 11-7) but there were defeat for Maria Malanina and Kristina Kazantseva. Maria Malanina lost to China’s Wu Yanchen (9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 12-10), Kristina Kazantseva was beaten by Japan’s Satsuki Odo, the top seed (11-9, 11-6, 11-8).

Differing fortunes for Portugal as day ends

Men’s Doubles Preliminary Round One

It was differing outcomes for Portugal as the opening day ended. In the first preliminary round of the men’s doubles event André Silva and Diogo Silva beat Spain’s Guillermo Martinez and Adrian Morato (11-6, 11-2, 11-8); Diogo Pinho and Zhao Tianming experienced defeat when facing Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda (11-9, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8).

An opening preliminary round men’s doubles defeat for Zhao Tianming in partnership with Diogo Pinho (Photo: Rita Tarboda)
Smiles for hosts as round concludes

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

There was success for the host nation as play in the men’s singles second preliminary round came to a conclusion; both Diogo Silva and Diogo Carvalho emerged succeesful.

Diogo Silva beat Slovakia’s Alexander Valuch (12-10, 11-9, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4); Diogo Carvalho ended the hopes of Spain’s Joan Masip (11-7, 11-6, 11-1, 11-9).

Tension mounts, narrow margins

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Close contests. as play in the men’s singles preliminary round progressed, tension mounted. Both Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen and Germany’s Dennis Klein followed the example of England’s Tom Jarvis less than an hour earlier. Both recovered from three games to one deficits. Tobias Rasmussen beat Moldova’s Andrei Putuntica (5-11, 6-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11); Dennis Klein overcame Hungary’s Adam Szudi (11-6, 9-11, 1-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9).

Likewise Austria’s David Serdaroglu needed the full seven games to beat Spain’s Carlos Caballero (11-9, 14-16, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7), as did Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chi-Chen when facing Israel’s Omri Ben Ari (4-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4).

Tom Jarvis keeps nerve, Irvin Bertrand again suffers agony

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Tom Jarvis both performed the recovery of the day and won the closest match of the day the day to date; in the second preliminary round of the men’s singles event he beat Frenchman Irvin Bertrand, fighting back from a two games to nil and three games to one deficit to secure a nail-biting victory (6-11, 6-11, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 14-12).

It was for Irvin Bertrand his second such narrow defeat of the day; earlier in the first round of the under 21 men’s singles event, he had lost to China’s Zeng Beixun by the minimal margin in the decider (11-7, 11-6, 11-13, 4-11, 11-9).

Tom Jarvis, maintaining focus when pressure mounted (Photo: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki)
Success for China’s rising generation

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Chinese teenagers, Niu Guankai, Cao Wei and Sai Linwei all enjoyed success as play proceeded in second preliminary round of the men’s singles event. Niu Guankai, 17 years old, beat Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos (11-4, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5), Cao Wei, 19 years of age and the winner of the under 21 men’s singles event last year at the ITTF Challenge DPR Korea Open, accounted for Germany’s Gerritt Engemann (8-11, 11-7, 11-5, 5-11, 14-12, 11-8). Meanwhile, totally new to the international scene, also 19 years of age, Sai Linwei ended the progress of Poland’s Marek Badowski (11-9, 6-11, 10-12, 12-10, 11-2, 6-11, 11-6).

Likewise, Austria’s David Serdaroglu needed the full seven games to beat Spain’s Carlos Caballero (11-9, 14-16, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7), as did

Differing fortunes for Romanian teenagers

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Titles at cadet and junior level by the score, now both 18 years of age and in the first year as fully fledged senior players, it was differing fortunes for Romania’s Cristian Pletea and Rares Sipos in the men’s singles second preliminary round.

Cristian Pletea was beaten by China’s Quan Kaiyuan (14-12, 4-11, 13-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6); conversely, Rares Sipos accounted for Bastien Rembert (11-7, 11-5, 13-11, 5-11, 9-11, 11-8), the French male representative at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Rares Sipos who beat Bastien Rembert (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Impressive starts on debut

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round Two

Winner at last year’s ITTF World Cadet Challenge in Tottori, in addition the winning the cadet boys’ singles title at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in Myanmar, as well as the securing the junior boys’ singles top prize at on the ITTF World Junior Circuit in Serbia, China’s 15 year old Zeng Beixun made the ideal start to his senior career. In the second preliminary round of the men’s singles event he beat Lithuania’s Tomas Mikutis (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 14-12).

Likewise, also on debut there was success for his compatriot, Sun Wen; 22 years old, he beat Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay (11-6, 11-7, 11-8, 14-12)

Maria Tsaptsinos negotiates difficult test

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round One

In the final Women’s Singles session of the day Maria Tsaptsinos survived a stern test to book her spot in the second round of qualifying: the England representative met Greece’s Elisavet Terpou at the first hurdle, a player who more than held her own in the match but ultimately lost out across six games (12-10, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10).

Mixed emotions for Nigeria

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round One

Offiong Edem has opened her account with a win, coasting to a five games victory over French competitor Nolwenn Fort (11-5, 11-6, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6).

Success for Nigeria, however, there was also disappointment for the nation with Ganiyat Aruna losing out in her encounter with India’s Archana Girish Kamath (11-4, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9).

Haruna Ojio makes amends

Women’s Singles Preliminary Round One

Eliminated from the Under 21 draw in the morning session but Haruna Ojio avoided a similar fate in her opening Women’s Singles contest as the Japanese competitor posted a 4-0 win over Russia’s Kristina Kazantseva (11-5, 11-3, 13-11, 11-8). Hungarian player Krisztina Ambrus awaits Ojio in the next stage of the qualification tournament.

First win for hosts

Men’s Singles Preliminary Round One

The local fans finally have a result to celebrate after Diogo Pinho picked up Portugal’s first victory in Lisboa. Facing up against Austria’s Narayan Kapolnek in the opening qualification round, Pinho needed just the four games to extend his journey (11-6, 12-10, 11-9, 11-9) and will meet Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun in Preliminary Round Two.

Success for Diogo Pinho (Photo: Rita Taborda)
Close but home player falls short

 

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round One

Liu Yangzi came mighty close to achieving one of the biggest upsets so far from the morning session of play as the host nation almost witnessed it’s first success of the day. However, a fine comeback display from China’s Fan Siqi (7-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6) means that the wait for a Portuguese win goes on.

Ana Garcia keeps her cool

Under 21 Women’s Singles Round One

Beginning her campaign in style, Spain’s Ana Garcia is through to the second round of the Under 21 Women’s Singles event following an impressive performance against Serbia’s Izabela Lupulesku: recovering from a two games deficit but no.28 seed Lupulesku couldn’t quite complete the comeback as Garcia showed great composure in the deciding game to put her name into the round two draw (11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-6).

Belgian hopeful holds firm

Under 21 Men’s Singles Round One

Seeded 25th for the Under 21 Men’s Singles event in Lisboa, Belgium’s Laurens Devos survived an opening round scare from Swiss opponent Cedric Tschanz.

In a match that required the full five game distance, Devos was forced to fight back from behind but held his nerve to secure his place in the last 32 (10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8).

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Challenge Series 2019 Portugal Open Portugal Lisbon
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