Follow the best moments at WTT Champions Incheon

Hugo starts April with plenty of reasons to celebrate the results he achieved at the WTT Champions Incheon and the consequences. He leaves South Korea with four wins in five matches, two of them against opponents ranked in the top five of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings. Hugo beat Frenchman Felix Lebrun, ranked fifth, and China’s Fan Zhendong, ranked second and current two-time world champion. 

+ Read also: look back at Hugo’s results so far in 2024

Hugo’s performance and favorable scores at the table saw him rise from eighth to seventh in the world rankings, overtaking China’s Lin Gaoyuan. With his runner-up finish at the WTT Champions Incheon, he added 700 points and started the fourth month of the year with 2595. His run in the competition began against Japan’s Shunsuke Togami. He then faced Frenchmen Alexis Lebrun in the round of 16 and Felix Lebrun in the quarterfinals. Finally, he faced two Chinese players: Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun.

WTT Champions Incheon campaign

Hugo entered the WTT Champions Incheon as the 6th seed and made his debut on South Korean soil against Japan’s Shunsuke Togami, ranked 25th in the world. The match got off to a difficult start, but Hugo managed to get the upper hand by scoring more points on his serve and also hitting his opponent’s serve well. The match went into the fifth game with Hugo winning 3 games to 2, 11/7, 14/16, 11/7, 8/11 and 11/3.

The next match was with Alexis Lebrun and, after a tense start, Hugo upped his game and reduced the deficit, but it wasn’t enough in the first game. The match heated up and was even until midway through the second game. However, from then on Hugo was in charge. He was dominant in the third game and remained in control. Hugo went on to win 3-1: 6/11, 11/6, 11/6 and 11/6.

After overcoming Alexis, Hugo faced his brother Felix Lebrun. He started behind, but soon leveled the game and the contest was fierce until the final moments, with Hugo winning by the narrowest of margins. The second game was similar, with the Frenchman coming out on top, but Hugo turning the tables with a quality performance and winning. And in the third game, Hugo’s confidence grew and he finished the match in straight games: 11/9, 11/8 and 11/5.

Chinese in the way

Check out images from the WTT Champions Incheon campaign

The semi-final began with Hugo dominating the game, with more points scored on his serve than on his opponent’s. He thus opened up a 3-0 lead in the match. However, it was expected that the match against Fan Zhendong, first seed in the WTT Champions Incheon and ranked second in the world, would not be easy and it wasn’t. The Chinese player reacted and narrowed the gap by winning the next two games. However, Hugo regained control and closed out the fourth game: 11/6, 11/8, 11/9, 6/11, 8/11 and 11/5.

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Hugo’s best campaign on the world table tennis circuit ended with a runner-up finish, after he lost the final to world number three Liang Jingkun. The Chinese won the first game, but Hugo equalized afterwards. From then on, each game was similar, with Hugo starting out in the lead and his opponent managing to recover to win the games and clinch the title after almost 43 minutes: 4-1 (11/6, 6/11, 11/8, 11/7 and 11/5).

Next challenge

Hugo will soon be back in training to prepare for the World Cup, which will be held in Macau from April 15 to 21. This year’s tournament will feature a lot of changes, and the Team Blog will bring you all the information soon!