14 Feb 2020

Excelling expectations, England’s David McBeath alongside Romania’s Arina Singeorzan emerged the biggest surprises names to reserve places in the respective men’s singles and women’s singles events when qualification at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open concluded in Lisbon on the evening of Thursday 13th February.

In the decisive preliminary rounds both caused major upsets.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Listed at no.853 on the current men’s world rankings, David McBeath accounted for Argentina’s Santiago Lorenzo, named over 500 places higher at no.324.

Similarly Arina Singeorzan ousted a player almost 300 places higher. She beat Kazakhstan’s Zauresh Akasheva (11-6, 7-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-7); currently, Arina Singeorzan stands at no.471 on the women’s world rankings, Zauresh Akasheva at no.181.

Notably Arina Singeorzan was one of only two surprise names to advance in the women’s singles qualifier; the other being Chinese Taipei’s Huang Hsin. In the men’s singles, it was rather different.

Arina Singeorzan defying the odds (Photo: Rémy Gros)


Additional to David McBeath, India’s Sanil Shetty, Argentina’s Martin Bentancor and Russia’s Denis Ivonin, as well as to the delight of the host nation, Diogo Chen all upset the pecking order, all booked main draw places.

Full house of upsets

Upsets but nothing could compare with the men’s doubles qualification; not one of the eight pairs expected to progress, succeeded.

Most notably, Finland’s Alex Naumi and Benedek Olah, the highest rated partnership, lost to Switzerland’s Pedro Osiro and Lionel Weber (13-11, 11-6, 12-10), who in turn suffered at the hands of Korea Republic’s Baek Kwangil and Park Chan-Hyeok (8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 12-10).

Disappointment for Finland; in the women’s doubles it was the opposite emotion. Anna Kirichenko partnered Argentina’s Ana Codina, to a surprise final preliminary round win against Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos of Belarus (5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10), the highest rated pair on qualification duty. Notably in 2017, Nadezhda Bogdanova and Daria Trigolos had finished in runners up spot at the ITTF Challenge Series tournament in Zagreb.

Bruna Takahashi formed an immediate understanding with Andrea Todorovic (Photo: José Hudo Castañer)


Success against expectations, it was the same for Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi and Serbia’s Andrea Todorovic; they beat Chile’s Daniela Ortega and Paulina Vega (11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5) to emerge the one further surprise pair to reach the women’s doubles main draw.

Likewise, in the mixed doubles, two pairs progressed to the main draw contrary to predictions. Once again Nadezhda Bogdanova suffered. Partnering colleague Pavel Platonov, they experienced a surprise final preliminary round defeat when facing Switzerland’s Lionel Weber and Rachel Moret (11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 6-11, 11-4).

The one further upset result witnessed Ana Codina on the different end of a surprise; partnering compatriot Horacio Cifuentes, the Argentine pair unexpectedly lost to Spain’s Alberto Lillo and Zhang Sofia-Xuan (11-8, 11-6, 10-7, 11-7.

Only two seeds survive

Meanwhile, in the under 21 men’s singles event, contrary to status Chile’s Nicolas Burgos, Korea Republic’s Kim Woojin and Germany’s Tobias Hippler all emerged surprise quarter-finalists, as did Japan’s Shunsuke Togami, England’s Tom Jarvis and Nikhil Kumar of the United States.

In fact of the top eight names, only Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko, the no.4 seed and Chinese Taipei’s Feng Yi-Hsin, the no.6 seed, survived.

Lisa Lung safely through to the under 21 women’s singles quarter-finals (Photo: Rita Taborda)


Rather differently, in the under 21 women’s singles, the top five names all progressed. Japan’s Maki Shiomi, Belgium’s Lisa Lung and Daria Trigolos of Belarus alongside the Romanian duo comprising Andreea Dragoman and Adina Diaconu all secured quarter-final places. Slovenia’s Ana Tofant, Amy Wang of the United States and Nolwenn Fort of France emerged the surprise names.

The under 21 men’s singles and under 21 women’s singles events will be played to a conclusion on Friday 14th February, the day on which the main draw in all other competitions commence.

Challenge Series 2020 Portugal Open David McBeath Arina Singeorzan

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Day 3 - 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open