21 Apr 2019

The magic of the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships officially arrived in Budapest on Sunday 21st April and as anticipated there were plenty of talking points.

Here are the 5 things we learnt from Day One in the Hungarian capital:

by Simon Daish

Host nation means business!

If it wasn’t apparent before the start of play, the Hungarians mean business! – on Day One that was clear for all to see with the host nation enjoying a sparkling day on the table.

Not only did Bence Majoros and Bernadette Balint negotiate both of their mixed doubles fixtures with class but also glided through their opening men’s and women’s singles encounters in style, accounting for Ravil Ahmedov (11-7, 11-2, 11-5, 11-6) and Rozalina Khadjieva (11-6, 11-8, 14-12, 11-6) in straight games!

Michael Maze is back!

Following a lengthy spell out of the game due to injury Danish legend Michael Maze has returned to the World Championships stage once again.

Bronze medallist in 2005, on the opening day in Budapest the 37-year-old star got his men’s singles journey off to a winning start with a convincing victory over Norwegian opponent Adrian Wetzel (11-3, 11-6, 11-7, 14-12).

Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning state early intentions

The mighty combination of Fan Zhendong and Ding Ning have stated their intentions in Budapest, marking the start of their mixed doubles campaign with a thunderous display.

Untroubled from start to finish the Chinese pair needed just three games to see off USA’s Nikhil Kumar and Lily Zhang (11-5, 11-8, 11-3) and were just as impressive in their second meeting of the day, beating the Malaysian duo of Muhamad Ashraf Haiqal and Ho Ying 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-2).

Not all as expected for Nigeria

On the whole Day One proved to be somewhat of a mixed bag for Nigeria with differing fortunes in across the two singles events.

The top names in their respective men’s singles groups but Olajide Omotayo and Segun Toriola struggled to find their ‘A game’, suffering defeat at the hands of Cyprus’ Marios Yiangou (7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 11-1) and USA’s Victor Liu (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10).

However, in the women’s singles competition there were reasons for Nigeria to celebrate: fighting back from a game down Ajoke Ojomu came out on top against Luxembourg’s Sarah Meyer (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5) while Olufunke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem also emerged victorious in their opening encounters.

Dima proves a hit with the fans

While he may not have been involved in competitive action on Day One in Budapest, Dimtrij Ovtcharov did manage to spend some time on the table.

The German star took to the fan zone to meet and compete with aspiring young players – take a look:

2019 World Table Tennis Championships Dimitrij Ovtcharov Bence Majoros Michael Maze Ajoke Ojomu Bernadette Balint

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Day 8 - 2019 World Table Tennis Championships

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