(by Steve Hopkins)
Saturday Evening Update:
Another surprise in the late matches as Wang Chuqin finished strong against Ma Long. This is a big step for Chuqin, World No. 14, who has already won the Mixed Doubles event and will now face off against Truls Moregard in the Final on Sunday. Chuqin has been slowly moving up the World Rankings over the last two years – but may now be poised to make a jump further up the rankings (and into a more stable position on the Chinese team). Chuqin won the first game against Ma Long, but was down 1-2 and 2-3 before winning the final two games. Chuqin also defeated World No. 6 Lin Yun-Ju and World No. 4 Hugo Calderano (as well as USA’s Kanak Jha) on his path to the Final.
In the late Women’s Singles Semifinal, Wang Manyu withdrew sending Sun Yingsha to the Final. An interesting sidenote is that Sun Yingsha has accumulated enough points to move into first in the World Rankings. Unfortunately, those points come with a walkover win – though she still has the Final ahead of her, so even more ranking points are on tap for Sunday.
After a pause of several months, one of the strongest fields of the year is battling in Budapest. The surprise of the day is Sweden’s Truls Moregard who defeated World No. 3 Liang Jingkun 4-2 this morning. Moregard finished the first game strong for a 13-11 win, but then Liang fought back to win two of the next three. Moregard then closed out the match with 11-8 and 11-7 victories.
Moregard has always had flashes of great play – mixing power with amazing touch and creativity – but over the last twelve months (perhaps beginning with his Finals appearance at the World Championships in Houston) he has begun to show consistency as well. There have been no easy matches in this event. Moregard defeated former European Champion Mattias Falck in the Round of 32, topped savvy Taipei player Chuang Chih-Yuan in the Round of 16, defeated another up-and-coming European player Darko Jorgic in the Quarters, and has now taken out China’s Liang Jingkun in the Semifinals.
Moregard will face the winner of the Ma Long and Wang Chuqin Semifinal Match in the Final tomorrow. In a quirk of scheduling (or perhaps a purposeful move to keep the fans watching), the Men’s Semifinal matches have been scheduled at the beginning and at the end of today’s action. The other Semifinal match is at 9p local time – one of the last matches of the day.
Women’s action is also split. The early match saw Wang Yidi top Kasumi Ishikawa 4-1 to reach the Final. The late match will be between Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha. *It will be an all-China Final on the Women’s side.
The Mixed Doubles Final has already occurred today – Wang Chuqin and Qang Manyu defeated Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata 3-2 (11-9 in the tight final game). The other Doubles Finals will be held on Sunday along with the Men’s and Women’s Singles Finals.
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