by Ian Marshall, Editor
Furthermore, the players they overcame in the finals are also listed; the most popular name amongst the group being Chuang Chih-Yuan.
In 2010, he was beaten in the final by Jun Mizutani, later he was to win in 2016 when he accounted for colleague Chen Chien-An in the title decider; two years earlier Daniel Habesohn had secured the top step of the podium, defeating Germany’s Steffen Mengel.
Notably Chuang Chih-Yuan is the only member of the club to have won in Budapest, Jun Mizutani succeeded in Budaors, Daniel Habesohn in Szombathely. Furthermore, of those finalists, Jun Mizutani and Daniel Habesohn are the only seeded players; the rest must qualify.
Jun Mizutani is the no.6 seed, Daniel Habesohn, the no.15 seed on a list headed by Tomokazu Harimoto, the Japanese teenager making his debut in the tournament, the reason being that in the past, the tournament clashed with Japanese National Championships, a most prestigious event with a long standing tradition. Brazil’s Hugo Calderano is the no.2 seed, followed by the German duo of Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Patrick Franziska.
For the top names it has been a contrasting start to the year. At the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open both Tomokazu Harimoto and Patrick Franziska departed in the first round, notably Tomokazu Harimoto losing to Chuang Chih-Yuan. Somewhat differently Dimitrij Ovtcharov beat Fan Zhendong to reach the semi-finals, just over one week ago Hugo Calderano won the men’s event at the Universal 2020 Pan America Cup.
Won in same year
Prevalent in the history of the men’s singles event in Hungary, Chuang Chih-Yuan is also a name to note in the men’s doubles. In the same year as he won the men’s singles title, he partnered Huang Sheng-Sheng to success, the duo overcoming Belgium’s Robin Devos and Cédric Nuytinck in the final.
Now in 2020, Chuang Chih-Yuan allies with Chen Chien-An, the player with whom he struck gold at the Liebherr 2013 World Championships in Paris but has never reached an ITTF World Tour final! Could this be the opportunity? They are the no.3 seeds.
Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, four ITTF World Tour titles to their name, top the list with Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Patrick Franziska immediately following. Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi, winners in 2018 on the ITTF Challenge Series in Croatia, occupy the no.4 seeded spot.
Aiming to repeat past success but appearing a daunting task; it is the same in the women’s singles event.
Austria’s Liu Jia who celebrated her 38th birthday on Sunday 16th February, emerged the winner in 2014; her name appears on the entry list as do those of Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Lee Ho Ching. Elizabeta Samara was the runner up in 2010, Lee Ho Ching in 2015. All three compete in the qualification tournament.
Winner of seven ITTF World Tour women’s singles titles; Mima Ito is the top seed in an event where Japan is most prominent. Kasumi Ishikawa, the winner at the recent 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open alongside Miu Hirano, Hitomi Sato and Miyu Kato all appear amongst the top ten names.
The main challengers to their aspirations are Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching and Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem in addition to Romania’s Bernadette Szocs and Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the winner at the recent CCB 2020 Europe Top 16 tournament.
Notably in the women’s doubles, Japan is also strongly represented; Kasumi Ishikawa who won in 2010 when partnering the now retired Ai Fukuhara, joins forces with Miu Hirano, they occupy the no.4 seeded position.
Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien Tzu, semi-finalists last year at the Agricultural Bank of China 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, occupy the top seeded spot, ahead of Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching. Next in the order is the combination of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova.
Kasumi Ishikawa aiming for repeat success, for the host nation it is aiming for one step higher but with the same partner. Last year Adam Szudi and Szandra Pergel concluded play the mixed doubles runners up; this year they are the no.5 seeds.
Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem, winners at the 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, top the list with Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito in second spot. Slovakia’s Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova followed by Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Lee Ho Ching complete the top four pairs.
The main event commences on Thursday 20th February.