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Hugo Calderano

WTT Contender Durban: Calderano Starts 2023 with a Win

(by Steve Hopkins)

Brazil’s Hugo Calderano was the top seed, and aside from a tight 3-2 Quarterfinal win over China’s Lin Shidong, her did exactly what he needed to do. Kallberg and Franziska each reached the other Quarterfinal – and it was Kallberg that emerged to face Calderano in the Semis.  Calderano won 3-1 to advance to the Final.

While the top half of the draw proceeded very much as expected, the bottom half was full of upsets.  Liang Yanning was upset by France’s Jules Roland in the opening round.  Rolland then fell Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko 3-2 in the Round of 16.  Quadri Aruna fought past Sun Wen and Felix Lebrun, but then became a second upset victim to Zhmudenko in the Quarterfinals.  Second seeded Dang Qiu lost in a minor upset to Simon Gauzy in the Quarterfinals before Gauzy became the third major upset win for Zhmudenko – a 3-1 Semifinal win sending Zhmudenko to face Calderano in the Final.

Zhmudenko’s run ended in the Final when Calderano methodically dismantled him (at  4, 5, 2, and 8).  A solid win for Calderano – with the title as well as strong wins over Kallberg and Shidong.

In the Women’s draw, the top seeds were Germans Nina Mittelham and Xiaona Shan.  However, it was lower ranked Chinese players that dominated.  25 year old Zhang Rui upset Mittelhelm in the Quarterfinals and 22 year old Qian Tianyi took out Shan in the same round.  Zhang then fell to 24 year old Fan Siqi in one Semifinal, and Qian advanced by defeating Taipei’s Chien Tung-Chuan in the other.  Qian Tianyi topped Fan Siqi in the all-Chinese final.

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