by Simon Daish
Ort and Moregard outshine the competition
The Men’s Singles race took an unexpected turn at the quarter-final hurdle as the two highest-seeded players both suffered defeat. Number one seed Liam Pitchford succumbed to a surprise 3-0 loss at the hands of Germany’s Kilian Ort (11-8, 16-14, 11-3), while Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, seeded second, fell short against Sweden’s Truls Moregard (11-9, 11-6, 2-11, 3-11, 11-2).
Awe-inspiring results for Ort and Moregard, but the high-flying duo still had unfinished business to take care of. Unseeded qualifier Ort was the first to book his ticket to the final following an outstanding comeback victory over Czech Republic’s Tomas Polansky (5-11, 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9, 15-13).
“I am very happy with my victory, and I think I was in my best shape. The key to success was the third game I managed to steal; I controlled the match after that. I think he is better than me in general, but I fought hard and did everything I could to reach the final,” said Kilian Ort
Moregard, on the other hand, negotiated a different challenge, holding his nerve in the face of Dang Qiu’s late charge to beat the German number seven seed 4-3 (11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 11-7).
“I think I played very well, and I wanted this success more. He was a very strong opponent, but I was better on the day. I need some rest now, so I’m going to take a quick bath and go to sleep. It was 50-50, but in the end, it’s me who is celebrating the victory,” said Truls Moregard
Top seed to meet qualifier for the bragging rights
Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin is just one win away from living up to expectations as the top-seeded entry in the Women’s Singles draw produced another strong outing on Thursday. Starting the day with a 3-0 win against Olga Vorobeva (11-6, 11-3, 11-9), Yang overcame another Russian opponent in the semi-finals as she beat Mariia Tailakova 4-1 (11-2, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8). Earlier in the day, Tailakova made headlines as she knocked home favourite Georgina Pota out of the running.
“Mariia is a very young and talented player. I tried to hit slow and quick balls to confuse her. Normally, I am a safety-first player, but if it is necessary, I will take risks, and that was how I pushed my opponent out of her comfort zone,” said Yang Xiaoxin
The outcome saw Yang set up a surprise meeting with Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian at the final hurdle. Starting her campaign in the qualifying rounds, Abraamian performed exceptionally well on her way to the last eight where she was just as impressive, securing a crushing 3-0 victory over fellow Russian competitor Polina Mikhailova, seeded second (11-6, 11-6, 11-5). Already on cloud nine, Abraamian would finish the day with another straight games success as she outclassed Indian number six seed Manika Batra (12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8).
“I worked hard for this result and for my dreams. I think I played very well and I did my best; I am so happy now. It was a tough match because Manika is one of the best players in the world, and I am still a junior. I don’t have a lot of experience from senior tournaments. I am still young, so I will not have any pressure on me in the final,” said Elizabet Abraamian
Mixed emotions for home pairings
Top seeds Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi were anticipated to represent the host nation in the Men’s Doubles final but saw their run halted in the semi-finals as the German pair of Tobias Hippler and Kilian Ort once again punched above their weight (11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 12-10). Hippler and Ort prepare to face Kirill Skachkov and Vladimir Sidorenko in the final following the Russian pair’s victory over India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar and Harmeet Desai (11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6).
Defeat for Hungary in that match, but there was success for the country over in the Women’s Doubles event as Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel battled past Slovakia’s Tatiana Kukulkova and Ema Labosova 3-1 (11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-9) to reach the final. Russian top seeds Olga Vorobeva and Yana Noskova came out on top against Sweden’s Christina Källberg and Linda Bergström (11-9, 11-4, 11-8) in the other semi-final. The sole Mixed Doubles fixture of the day saw India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra defeat Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos 3-0 (11-6, 11-5, 11-4).
“This match was not as easy as the result shows. The first game was 9-9, and our opponents played in a different style, so we needed to change our tactics. During the second game, we realised that we could beat them with our style of play, so from that point on, it was easier. We know each other well, and that is our secret to success,” said Olga Vorobeva and Yana Noskova
Five titles up for grabs on the final day
The last day of play in Budapest features five high-stakes encounters with title glory on the line in every match.
Friday’s programme gets underway from 13.00 local time as India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra take on Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz for Mixed Doubles gold. Then its time for the Men’s Doubles final with Germany’s Tobias Hippler and Kilian Ort lining up against Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko and Kirill Skachkov, before another Russian pair in Olga Vorobeva and Yana Noskova welcome opposition from the host nation’s Szandra Pergel and Dora Madarasz for the Women’s Doubles crown.
Rounding off the schedule, the Women’s Singles final starts from 15.00 as Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin and Russia’s Elizabet Abraamian take to the table in an unpredictable clash, while Sweden’s Truls Moregard and Germany’s Kilian Ort do battle in the Men’s Singles decider from 15.50.