2019 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open
Sunday 18 th August
Tomokazu Harimoto and Chen Xingtong crowned in Panagyurishte
Impressive performances, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and China’s Chen Xingtong
won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the 2019 ITTF World
Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte on Sunday 18th August.
Success for Tomokazu Harimoto was as status advised, he commenced play the top
seed; for Chen Xingtong life was somewhat different, she was the no.11 seed.
Following a quarter-final success against colleague Takuya Jin, Tomokazu Harimoto
accounted for Portugal’s Marcos Freitas (11-8, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8) and China’s Zhao
Zihao in six games (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 13-11, 13-15, 11-4) to secure the title. In
the opposite half of the draw in the latter stages Zhao Zihao had beaten Germany’s
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.2 seed (11-6, 12-10, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9), prior to
ousting Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.10 (11-6, 12-14, 11-2, 11-8, 12-10) to
reserve his place in the title decider.
Notably for Tomokazu Harimoto it was his fifth appearance in a men’s singles final
on the ITTF World Tour. In 2017 he won in the Czech Republic, the following year in
Japan. Meanwhile, also in 2017 he was the runner up in India, the same finish as
earlier this year in Hong Kong. Somewhat differently for Zhao Zihao, winner at the
2018 ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open; for Zhao Zihao it was his first
appearance in an ITTF World Tour final.
Success for Tomokazu Harimoto; in the women’s singles event it was gold for
China’s Chen Xingtong. In an all Chinese final she beat colleague He Zhuojia, the
no.5 seed (11-4, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-4). Earlier, at the quarter-final stage, Chen
Xingtong had overcome Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.8 seed, prior to
accounting for Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.2 seed (6-11, 11-4, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-
In a somewhat similar manner, He Zhoujia had ended Japanese hopes by ending
the hopes of Kasumi Ishikawa in the quarter-final round (12-10, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4),
prior to recording a quarter-final success in opposition to compatriot Wu Yang (11-
9, 11-8, 11-8, 13-15, 3-11, 11-8).
Success for Chen Xingtong meant she secured her fourth career ITTF World Tour
women’s singles title. In 2017 she won in Hungary and Sweden, in 2018 in Hong
Kong. It was for He Zhuojia her third appearance in women’s singles final on the
ITTF World Tour; in 2014 she won in Argentina, in 2015 she was the runner up in
Disappointment for Japan; one day earlier in the doubles events it had been mixed
fortunes. Jun Miztani and Mima Ito combined to claim the mixed title beating
China’s Ma Te and Wu Yang (11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 11-9); conversely in the women’s
doubles final Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata lost to China’s Gu Yuting and Mu Zi.
Similarly in the men’s doubles title decider Yukiya Uda and Kazuhiro Yoshimura
suffered at the hands of Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu (4-11,
11-4, 11-9, 11-8).
Play in Panagyurishte concluded, attention now turns to Olmouc; the 2019 ITTF
World Tour Czech Open commences on Tuesday 20th August.