23 Feb 2020

Portents for the next decade, 16 years old Tomokazu Harimoto and 19 years of age Mima Ito, won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest on the afternoon of Sunday 23rd February.

Thus the teenagers justified their top seeded status and added to Japanese success; the previous day Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa had emerged the women’s doubles champions.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Long established traditions were continued in a nation of long established traditions, Hungary is a founder member of the International Table Tennis Federation.

Adding to collection

At the final hurdle, Tomokazu Harimoto, 16 years old, beat colleague Yukiya Uda, 18 years of age (7-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9); Mima Ito accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.3 seed (11-7, 1-11, 11-6, 7-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-7).

However, for Mima Ito, there were some nervous moments; down 2-3 in games in the sixth she trailed 2-7 before recovering.

Thus Tomokazu Harimoto secured his fourth ITTF World Tour men’s singles title, for Mima Ito it was her eighth such success.

Mima Ito, the women’s singles winner (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


European hopes end

The hopes of the old continent disappeared at the semi-final stage. In the men’s singles Tomokazu Harimoto beat Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.3 seed (11-9, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8), Yukiya Uda ended the hopes of England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.9 seed (11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7.

In the women’s singles, also from Germany, Han Ying, the no.14 seed, lost to Mima Ito (11-7, 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-4)

Notably, success for Tomokazu Harimoto meant that he avenged the most recent result against Dimitrij Ovtcharov; last November when they met in the second round, the German had prevailed.

Liam Pitchford beaten by Yukiya Uda (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


No Lisbon repeat

The winner the previous week at the 2020 ITTF Challenge Series Platinum Portugal Open in Lisbon, it was not to be consecutive titles for Kasumi Ishikawa; she was beaten at the semi-final stage by Cheng I-Ching (9-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7).

Most familiar adversaries, it was the 21st time they had met in a world ranking tournament, the eighth time Cheng I-Ching had won.

Focused but it was semi-final sadness for Kasumi Ishikawa (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


New territory

It was totally new territory for Yukiya Uda, the boys’ singles runner up at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Bendigo, Australia.

A milestone, it was the first time he had ever progressed beyond the second round of an ITTF World Tour men’s singles event.

Agony for Yukiya Uda, a player who does not show great emotion (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


Again the bridesmaid

Once again for Cheng I-Ching it was so near yet so far; the closest she has ever come to winning an ITTF World Tour women’s singles title.

It was her seventh career appearance in an ITTF World Tour women’s singles semi-final but only the second time she had reached the final, the one previous occasion being in 2015 in Austria.

However, it was her best performance in Hungary; her prior best was in 2016 when she reached the semi-finals losing to Hong Kong’s now retired Tie Yana.

Once again so near yet so far for Cheng I-Ching (Photo: Richard Kalocsai)


World Tour 2020 Hungarian Open Mima Ito Tomokazu Harimoto Cheng I-Ching Yukiya Uda

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Day 4 - 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open

Match Highlights