14 Feb 2020

Places in the main draw the reward, as qualification in the men’s singles event at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open in Lisbon came to a close on Thursday 13th February, the name to shine for the host nation was that of Diogo.

Both Diogo Carvalho and Diogo Chen booked men’s singles main draw places

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the concluding preliminary round, Diogo Carvalho beat Austria’s David Serdaroglu (11-7, 3-11, 15-13, 10-12, 13-11, 11-3), a win as was to be anticipated. Presently, Diogo Carvalho is named at no.203 on the men’s world rankings, David Serdaroglu at no.236.

Conversely, the success recorded by Diogo Chen was an upset; listed at no.291 in the global reckoning, he ended the hopes of the Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky, standing at no.170. Moreover, Diogo Chen won in an impressive manner; he prevailed five games (9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-2, 11-9).

Fine performance

Make no mistake, whatever the rankings may read, it was a fine win against Tomas Polansky. Most notably in Gondomar in January at the 2020 ITTF World Team Qualification tournament, Tomas Polansky had beaten Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (14-16, 12-10, 12-14, 11-8, 11-9) in a crucial 3-2 match win against India. Now as in January, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran occupies the no.30 spot.

“I played well, I think I was at my best every moment of the match, only in the first game was I unlucky, I started well 9-5 up but then he recovered to 11-9. After that I was able to maintain my focus, also with the coach’s help, I knew what I needed to do. I’m happy with my win. I think it’s my first time in the main draw, I’m really happy. Now I will study my opponent and I will give my best.” Diogo Chen

First time in the main draw, not so; perhaps a little over excited with the performance, it is in fact his second. Approaching two years ago in late March 2018 in Guadalajara, he reached the third round of the men’s singles event at the ITTF Challenge Spanish Open.

Also best for colleague

The best performance to date at an open international tournament; in men’s singles events, it is also the best for Diogo Carvalho, a feat he was to repeat last May in Belgrade at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Serbia Open when he won the men’s doubles title partnering João Geraldo. On that occasion after beating Hong Kong’s Kwan Man Ho (11-13, 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 12-14, 11-8) and Belgium’s Florian Cnudde (11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-7, 11-8), he experienced defeat at the hands of Frenchman, Abdel-Kader Salifou (11-9, 6-11, 8-11, 11-7, 14-12).

However, taking into consideration the margin of defeat in 2019 in Belgrade when compared with Guadalajara one year earlier, I would argue, like Diogo Chen, the Spanish city witnessed his best effort to date.

Diogo Carvalho aiming replicate Guadalajara experience (Photo: Rita Taborda)


He beat Chile’s Juan Lamadrid (10-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3, 11-6) and Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang (11-9, 11-3, 11-2, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5), before he experienced defeat by the minimal margin when opposing Iran’s Nima Alamian (9-11, 11-4, 11-13, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 12-10). It could not have been closer.

Meanwhile, in Guadalajara, like Diogo Carvalho required to qualify, safely through the group stage without defeat, in the main Diogo Chen overcame Bulgaria’s Philp Floritz (13-11, 10-12, 5-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-1), before similar to his colleague finding Kwan Man Ho to his liking (11-6, 11-9, 11-1, 11-8). Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy ended progress in abrupt style (11-5, 11-4, 12-10, 11-9).

Same again in Lisbon, or even further; after two days of play they are on the Guadalajara path.

Challenge Series 2020 Portugal Open Diogo Carvalho Diogo Chen

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Day 3 - 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open