by Ian Marshall, Editor
Earlier this year in March he reached the semi-final stage in Oman, more recently at the just concluded Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, he underlined the fact that the performance at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus tournament was no flash in pan.
Most impressively, in the Hungarian capital city he beat Germany’s Bastian Steger, India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta and most significantly, also from Germany, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, to reach the fourth round of the men’s singles event where the skills of Japan’s Koki Niwa, ended adventures.
In Belgrade, Tomislav Pucar is the no.2 seed ahead of Paraguay’s Marcelo Aguirre, Belgium’s Florent Lambiet and England’s Sam Walker. Japan’s Masaki Yoshida is the no.6 seed, followed by Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang and Robin Devos, like Florent Lambiet, also from Belgium.
It is for the top eight names a major opportunity for a landmark win; to date no member of the group has won a men’s singles title on either the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament. The task is to emulate two players slightly lower down the order who have ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles to their credit. Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.9 seed, won in 2015 in Chile, one year earlier England’s Paul Drinkhall, the no.12 seed, had succeeded in Spain.
Notably, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker combine in the men’s doubles event, they are the no.4 seeds. Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, the winners last year at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF Challenge Series Croatia Open occupy the top seeded spot. Next in line Florent Lambiet partners Belgian colleague Martin Allegro, Lam Siu Hang and Italy’s Chen Shuainan form the no.3 seeded partnership.
Meanwhile, in the under 21 men’s singles event, Germany is very much to the fore; Tobias Hippler is the top seed, Nils Hohmeier is the no.4 seed, one place below Belgium’s Florian Cnudde. However the name to note is that of the no.2 seed, Japan’s Yuta Tanaka, last year he won in Thailand.
Overall, 123 players compete in the men’s singles event; there are 40 men’s doubles pairs, a total of 40 entrants for the under 21 men’s singles.