by Ian Marshall, Editor
In the preliminary rounds, notable names fell by the wayside, some more notable than others.
Top ten surprises
WS Prelim R1: Amy Wang (United States) beat Fu Yu (Portugal) 3-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6)
Only 17 years old, Amy Wang earns great credit for overcoming a style of play she rarely meets. She adapted to the pen-hold grip blocking play of the vastly experienced Fu Yu, gold medallist at the 2019 European Games. It was a major achievement.
- World Ranking: Fu Yu no.41, Amy Wang no.175
MS Prelim R2: Niagol Stoyanov (Italy) beat Fang Bo (China) 11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-10
According to world ranking not a surprise but considering past success on the international scene an upset. The best for Niagol Stoyanov on the ITTF World Tour is a semi-final finish in 2014 in Belgium; for Fang Bo, in addition to being the men’s singles runner up at the Qoros 2015 World Championships, on the ITTF World Tour, in 2013 he won in Austria.
- World Ranking: Niagol Stoyanov no.103, Fang Bo no.229
MS Prelim R2: Zhai Yujia (Denmark) beat Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong China) 7-11, 11-4, 13-11, 3-11, 11-4, 11-7.
Winner at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open, Zhai Yujia seized his chance against the top name on qualification duty, a player experiencing inconsistent results. At the ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament against Singapore Wong Chun Ting lost to Clarence Chew, facing Serbia he was beaten by Dimitrije Levajac but finished on a high note against the Czech Republic by overcoming Pavel Sirucek to secure a Tokyo place.
- World Ranking: Wong Chun Ting no.19, Zhai Yujia no.179
MS Prelim R2: Ioannis Sgouropoulos (Greece) beat Ho Kwan Kit (Hong Kong China) 9-11, 7-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9
Twice winner of the junior boys’ singles title at the European Youth Championshipships and current under 21 European champion, Ioannis Sgouropoulos stepped up to the next level, his power evident. Notably Ho Kwan Kit won the men’s singles title on the 2014 ITTF World Tour in the Philippines.
- World Ranking: Ho Kwan Kit No.96, Ioannis Sgouropoulos no.160
MS Prelim R2: Alexandre Cassin (France) bt Chen Chien-An (Chinese Taipei) 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8
Winner of the junior boys’ singles title at the European Youth Championships in 2014 and 2016 but yet to make his mark on the senior scene; in Magdeburg, Alexandre Cassin made his mark. Chen Chien-An has not really fulfilled the potential he displayed a decade ago; in 2008 in Madrid he was crowned World Junior champion.
- World Ranking: Chen Chien-An no.49, Alexandre Cassin no.277
MS Prelim R2: Xu Chenhao (China) beat Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus) 5-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7
The best days of Vladimir Samsonov were in the late 1990s; against Chinese players with sound all round technical skills and speed a major facet, for the man who has won 27 ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles, life is now difficult. Xu Chenhao cannot match the record of Vladimir Samsonov but on the 2013 ITTF World Tour he was the runner up in Japan.
- World Ranking: Vladimir Samsonov no.22, Xu Chenhao no.210
MS Prelim R2: Martin Allegro (Belgium) beat Gustavo Tsuboi (Brazil) 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10, 11-13, 11-8
One of the most familiar faces on the international scene, 23 years old Martin Allegro raised his level; his efforts were rewarded. Gustavo Tsuboi, now 34 years old, is now one of the more experienced players on the scene. Notably he has made four appearances in the Men’s World Cup.
- World Ranking: Gustavo Tsuboi no.40, Martin Allegro no.128
WS Prelim R1: Daniela Monteiro Dodean (Romania) beat Liu Hsing-Yin (Chinese Taipei) 11-9, 12-10, 11-2, 11-8
Good form at the recent ITTF World Team Qualification Tournament in Gondomar where she remained unbeaten throughout, guiding Romania to Tokyo 2020; that good form was maintained. The surprise fact was not necessarily that she beat Liu Hsing-Yin, the margin was the stunning factor.
- World Ranking: Liu Hsing-Yin no.81, Daniela Monteiro Dodean no.134
WS Prelim R1: Lisa Lung (Belgium) beat Ganna Gaponova (Ukraine) 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, 6-11, 6-11, 11-8
A controlled performance from 20 years old Lisa Lung against a very testing opponent underlined progress; overcoming the reliable defensive skills of Ganna Gaponova demands patience. Notably Ganna Gaponova progressed to third round of the women’s singles event at the Qoros 2015 World Championships.
- World Ranking: Ganna Gaponova no.66, Lisa Lung no.126
MS Prelim R2: Zhang Kai (United States) beat Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) 11-13, 5-11, 13-11, 11-7, 13-11, 12-10
Last year at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Paraguay Open, Zhang Kai caused a major upset in the opening round of the men’s singles event. He beat Japan’s Koki Niwa. In Magdeburg once again his powerful attacking play attracted the attention and caused a surprise against a more experienced player.
- World Ranking: Thiago Monteiro no.69, Zhang Kai no.193