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After dropping the first game 11-9, Hugo Calderano (WR 6) won the next three games in a row against An Jaehyun (WR 39) with dominant finishes in each game: a 5-0 run to close games 2 and 3 and a 6-0 run to close game 4.
The event was on WTT’s official website (subject to media restrictions) at 13:00 Greenwich time on March 4. So far, recordings of Table 1 matches have not been made available online.
Calderano started the match with a strategy he would frequently rely on throughout the match: he served two half-long serves to An’s backhand and An gave two weak returns. However, Calderano missed an easy ball on the second point, making it 1-1. However, Calderano would go on to win all of the next five points in which he served.
However, An was able to keep things close by taking the initiative on his serve. After splitting his first two service points thanks to a pretty wide block from Calderano, An would also go on to win the next five points in which he served before rushing a forehand flick against a slightly high ball. Hence, after the first 16 points, the score was tied 8-8.
An was then able to steal two more points on Calderano’s serve with a hard chiquita wide to a forehand and a well-placed soft opening to Calderano’s elbow, giving him a 10-8 lead. Calderano was able to win a service return point back with a hard chiquita of his own to narrow the lead to 10-9. However, Calderano’s next chiquita was just a bit soft, and An was able to step around for a forehand down the line winner to take the first game 11-9.
An jumped to a 5-3 lead to start game 2 thanks to some hard openings, a saved net ball, and a service warning against Calderano that made him miss the next serve. An cholaed anyway and clearly violated table tennis karma as Calderano won the next three points off some sloppy short play from An to take a 6-5 lead.
An reclaimed a 7-6 lead with a deep push to Calderano’s forehand and a wide block against Calderano’s chiquita. However, in a preview of the next two games, Calderano won five straight points to win the game 11-7 off a combination of an edge ball, two nice exchanges by Calderano, a missed high short flick by An, and a popped up serve return by An.
Game 3 started out similar to Game 1: Calderano continued to attack An’s backhand with half-long serves to take his first five service points before a lucky net at 6-3. An split his first pair of serves due to some crips exchanges by Calderano, but won the next three of his own serves off hard step around forehands and an aggressive push to Calderano’s elbow. When all the dust settled, Calderano held a narrow lead of 6-5.
Calderano then hit a hard chiquita against An to take a 7-5 lead, and then An appeared to yield the initiative to Calderano as he dropped four more straight points, all off of missed blocks against Calderano’s loops. Altogether, Calderano again finished the game on a 5-0 run to take the game 11-5 and a commanding 2-1 lead.
Calderano was able to continue taking the initiative to start game 4 and jumped to a 5-2 lead. He then missed a forehand loop, and it looked like that momentum was shifting to An’s side after he narrowed the lead to 5-4 with a beautiful counter-looping rally.
However, the opposite actually happened as Calderano won a beautiful rally of his own to take a 6-4 lead. A popped up service return and a missed forehand flick from An further extended the lead to 8-4. Calderano launched a flurry of attacks to win the next three points in a row as well, capping off a 6-0 run to take the fourth game 11-4 and the match 3-1.
Hugo Calderano was rubbing some kind of ointment on his arm in between games. We are unsure if it is due to injury.
Calderano will play his former German Bundesliga teammate Simon Gauzy in the quarterfinals
After the match, Calderano provided the following post-game comments:
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