20 Feb 2020

Tuesday 18th February signalled the start of play in the qualification race for the upcoming 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest and as anticipated there are plenty of talking points.

Here are five standout stories from qualification day one in Budapest:

by Simon Daish

French stars defy the odds

Two of the day’s outstanding displays came courtesy of players hailing from French shores as Bastian Rembert and Mehdi Bouloussa put on a good show in the race for men’s singles qualification.

Rembert opened his account with a 4-2 win over local player Oliver Both (11-7, 8-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5) but it was his second victory of the day that really left an impression, toppling the World no.43 from Japan, Masataka Morizono 4-3 (14-12, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12, 8-11, 11-8). A fine result that the young Frenchman described as the biggest win of his life!

Bouloussa’s moment to shine came soon after as the player ranked at position no.343 in the world stunned Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu, no.57, in a six-game affair (11-8, 13-11, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11, 11-6).

Rares Sipos beginning to leave his mark on senior stage

Ranked fifth in the latest under 21 world rankings list, Rares Sipos is undeniably a talented young man who has a bright future ahead of him. Experiencing the phase in his career where he will be looking to make the transition to the senior stage, the Romanian showed on day one of qualifying that he’s more than capable of mixing it with the sport’s elite.

It was in his second singles fixture of the day that Sipos really caught the eye, producing one of his best performances to date to beat World no.32 and Croatian superstar Tomislav Pucar 4-1 (12-10, 15-13, 7-11, 14-12, 13-11). A big shock but promising signs for the teenager!

Caroline Kumahara has never say die attitude

Every sports fan loves a good comeback story and spectators in Budapest were treated to a fine example on Tuesday, courtesy of Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara.

Trailing Italian Giorgia Piccolin 0-3 in their women’s singles preliminary round one meeting, Kumahara refused to give up the fight and eventually came out on top 4-3 thanks to an incredible display of courage and determination (3-11, 7-11, 13-15, 11-3, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10).

Comeback joy for Caroline Kumahara (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Anamaria Erdelji still has it

Appearing in international action for the first time since 2016, Serbia’s Anamaria Erdelji enjoyed a winning return in Budapest.

Taking on a most worthy counterpart in the form of Romania’s Irina Ciobanu, Erdelji recovered from an early deficit to earn a striking 4-1 victory (10-12, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10, 11-9) to extend her stay in the competition.

Gunduz and Yigenler make for an exciting partnership

Turkey could have a bright doubles future ahead with two of the country’s younger players beginning to form a very promising partnership.

Ibrahim Gunduz and Abdullah Yigenler, aged 22 and 20 respectively, showed great togetherness in the opening preliminary round of the men’s doubles event, beating England’s Tom Jarvis and Liam Pitchford in four games, having lost the opening game by an eight point margin (3-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-2). It may just be one result to reflect upon but a big result nonetheless!


Big celebrations for Turkish duo


World Tour 2020 Hungarian Open Rares Sipos Bastien Rembert Caroline Kumahara Ibrahim Gunduz Mehdi Bouloussa Abdullah Yigenler Anamaria Erdelji

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Day 4 - 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open

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