Hungarian Open Recap: Harimoto’s First 2020 Win
(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
Budapest was host this week to the 2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open. The Chinese team was not present, but with Tomakazu Harimoto (World No. 5), Hugo Calderano (World No. 7), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (World No. 11) as the top three seeds, this was a very competitive field.
Top seeded Tomakazu Harimoto dominated his half of the draw by winning three quick matches on his way to the Semifinals. Dimitrij Ovtcharov was the other high seed in the top half of the draw and he held his own, logging 4-1, 4-3, and 4-2 wins on his way to the Semifinals. The Harimoto/Ovtcharov did not live up to expectations, with Harimoto winning the first game 11-9 and never looking back as he advanced to the Final 4-0.
The bottom half of the draw proceeded in a much more unexpected manner. The tournament’s second seed, Hugo Calderano fell to Kristian Karlsson in the second round. Calderano was down 3-1 before fighting back to tie the score, but Karlsson won the seventh game to advance. The other top seed in the bottom half of the draw, Patrick Franziska, lost his opening match to Takuya Jin of Japan. The other unfortunate victim to a first-round Japanese upset was USA’s Kanak Jha (Jha was seeded into the knock-out rounds, so this was his first match). Yukiya Uda rolled through the preliminary rounds, and by the time he faced Kanak Jha, Uda was hot. He won the first game 11-6, lost a close second game, and then rolled off three easy wins to eliminate Jha.
After defeating Jha, Uda defeated Jin 4-1, then Gardos 4-2, and with a 4-2 win over Liam Pitchford in the Semis, World No. 54 Yukiya Uda had advanced all the way to the Final. Uda won the first game of the Final, but it was all-Harimoto after that. Harimoto over Uda 4-1 (-7, 8, 2, 6, 9).
The top two seeds in the Women’s Singles event, both Japanese, each dominated early. Mima Ito won matches at 4-0, 4-0, and 4-2 on her way to the Semifinals. Second seeded Kasumi Ishikawa rolled off three dominating wins, including a 4-1 win over Adriana Diaz. However, Ishikawa then fell 4-3 in the Semifinal to Chinese Taipei’s I-Ching Cheng. Ito won the other Semifinal 4-1 over Germany’s Ying Han and it was Ito over Cheng in the final 4-3.
USA’s Lily Zhang met the same fate as Kanak Jha – she was seeded into the knock-out rounds but fell in her opening match against Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine. Pesotska had fought through the qualifiers, scoring two solid wins on the day before facing Zhang. Other regional players fared no better with Daniel Gonzales (PR), Brian Afanador (PR), Marko Medjugorac (CAN), Tommy Xu (CAN), Marcos Madrid (MEX), and Melanie Diaz (PR) all falling in the qualifying rounds of their respective singles event.
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