18 Aug 2019

Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and China’s Chen Xingtong won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte on Sunday 18th August.

Success for Tomokazu Harimoto was as status advised, he commenced play the top seed; for Chen Xingtong life was somewhat different, she was the no.11 seed.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A difference but both had factors in common, most notably the speed of their play and being able to answer the speed of their opponents.

Men’s Singles

…………Tomokazu Harimoto, after holding two match points in the fifth game, beat China’s Zhao Zihao in six games (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 13-11, 13-15, 11-4) to secure the title.

…………At the semi-final stage Tomokazu Harimoto ousted Portugal’s Marcos Freitas (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8).

………..Zhao Zihao, like Marcos Freitas a qualifier, upset the order of merit to reserve his place in the final; he overcame Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.10 (11-6, 12-14, 11-2, 11-8, 12-10).

…………For Tomokazu Harimoto it was his fifth appearance in an ITTF World Tour men’s singles final. In 2017 he won in the Czech Republic, the following year in Japan. Meanwhile, also in 2017 he was the runner up in India, the same finish as earlier this year in Hong Kong.

…………Winner at the 2018 ITTF Challenge, Belgosstrakh Belarus Open; for Zhao Zihao it was his first appearance in an ITTF World Tour final.

Women’s Singles

…………Chen Xingtong beat colleague He Zhuojia, the no.5 seed (11-4, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4) in an all Chinese final.

…………In the penultimate round Chen Xingtong had caused a major upset; she accounted for Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.2 seed (6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).

…………He Zhuojia reserved her place in the final courtesy of success again the defensive skills of compatriot and qualifier Wu Yang (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 13-15, 3-11, 11-8).

…………Success for Chen Xingtong meant she secured her fourth career ITTF World Tour women’s singles title. In 2017 she won in Hungary and Sweden, in 2018 in Hong Kong.

…………It was for He Zhuojia her third appearance in an ITTF World Tour women’s singles final; in 2014 she won in Argentina, in 2015 she was the runner up in Pyongyang

World Tour 2019 Asarel Bulgaria Open Tomokazu Harimoto Chen Xingtong

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Day 4 - 2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open

Match Highlights