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MOREGARD Lifts First Men's Singles Trophy at WTT Contender Budapest

Sweden's Truls MOREGARD and Monaco's YANG Xiaoxin have taken home the respective Men's Singles and Women's Singles titles at WTT Contender Budapest 2021 as the first WTT Contender event on European soil concluded on the afternoon of Friday 20th August.

MOREGARD caused a stir earlier in the Men's Singles draw with victory over Nigerian number two seed Quadri ARUNA in the quarter-finals. His opponent in the title decider was German qualifying hero Kilian ORT, who stunned England's Liam PITCHFORD, the top seed, at the same hurdle. The final proved a topsy-turvy affair with momentum switching back and forth between the players, but after seven electrifying games, it was Moregard who celebrated a historic victory (9-11, 11-9, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-9).

Aged 19, MOREGARD becomes the second-youngest player to collect Men's Singles gold at a WTT Series event behind Japan's Tomokazu HARIMOTO. Moregard is also the first Swede to win a singles title at an open international tournament since Anton Källberg at the 2019 ITTF Challenge Croatia Open.

"I should only play long matches, as this could be my main virtue! This victory shows that I am in a strong mental condition, so I can be proud of myself. I saw Kilian on YouTube; I tried to learn how he plays, but he surprised me with his tactics, and I was nervous at the beginning. That was a very difficult match and tournament in general, but now I am happy with this first place," said Truls MOREGARD.

YANG Xiaoxin was crowned Women's Singles champion in Budapest following a devastating display against Elizabet ABRAAMIAN of Russia. 18-year-old ABRAAMIAN had caught the eye in the Hungarian capital with her incredible run from the qualifying rounds to the final. However, the teenager missed out on a dream finish as top seed YANG stormed to victory by a crushing 4-0 scoreline (11-9, 12-10, 11-6, 11-1).

Claiming her first WTT Series trophy, YANG has won three open international tournament titles in her career following previous successes at the 2014 ITTF World Tour Croatia Open and 2016 ITTF World Tour Czech Open.

"I could not perform my best in the first two games because I did not know my opponent. I needed a few hits to get used to her style, as I had no idea how she would react to my balls. But later, I was able to control the game. Of course, I am very happy, but it was a long tournament, and I played a lot of matches, so I am quite tired too," said YANG Xiaoxin

Three additional finals were contested earlier in the day as the doubles events drew to an exciting conclusion.

India's Sathiyan GNANASEKARAN and Manika BATRA were presented with the Mixed Doubles trophy following their 3-1 victory over Hungarian opponents Nandor ECSEKI and Dora MADARASZ (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6). Making their international debut as a pair in Budapest, GANANSEKARAN and BATRA'S success sees India claim its first-ever WTT title.

The Men's Doubles title was won by Germany's Tobias HIPPLER and Kilian ORT. Unseeded for the event, HIPPLER and ORT pulled off a significant upset in the final as they accounted for Russian number two seeds Kirill SKACHKOV and Vladimir SIDORENKO 3-1 (11-3, 11-7, 6-11, 11-7).

"At the beginning, we struggled, but the second game was a little better. We have played against our opponents many times before, so we knew them and their skills. We are an effective duo, and that was the key to our success. We are really proud of ourselves, and I think we improved match by match. We are very happy with this victory," said Tobias HIPPLER

There were also celebrations on a local level as Hungary's very own Dora MADARASZ and Szandra PERGEL secured Women's Doubles glory. Falling short in the Mixed Doubles final, MADARASZ learnt the lessons of that experience and turned it to her advantage as she and PERGEL, seeded second, cruised past Russian top seeds Olga VOROBEVA and Yana NOSKOVA 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-6).

"I think we dominated them during the final. In the third game, I thought that we must win this encounter as we were the better duo today. I had the advantage from playing in the mixed doubles as I got used to the harder hits. Due to this, I felt more comfortable at the table against our Russian opponents," said Dora MADARASZ.