hugo calderano at the WTT Finals. he plays the WTT Star Contender also in Doha

Hugo is back in Doha! “The Thrill from Brazil” flew back to Qatar the day after the German Cup Final Four. His next challenge in the World Tour is the WTT Star Contender Doha. The main draw takes place from the 10th to the 13th of January at the Lusail Sports Arena. The tournament is fairly similar to a world championship as 23 of the world’s top 25 players will be in attendance. Read all about the tournament below.


Nine of the top ten players in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings will be competing in this high-profile event. The tournament officially opens the 2024 season and the world’s best table tennis players will be flocking to the Qatari capital in search of important points in the Olympic race.

To give you an idea of the caliber of the tournament, 23 of the world’s top 25 players will be present. The only absentees from this group are France’s Félix Lebrun (WR 8) and Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov (WR 13).  The list is topped by four Chinese: Fan Zhendong, Wang Chuqin, Ma Long and Liang Jingkun.

This was possible after the WTT removed the rule limiting the number of top 20 athletes in the Contender and Star Contender events. This change is valid until the Paris Olympics and will make the international table tennis circuit very competitive this year.

Hugo is the fifth seed. He is not only the only Brazilian in the men’s singles but also the only representative from the Americas. 

Countryman, Vitor Ishiy, sought a place in the main draw but was knocked out in qualifying. The same happened in the mixed doubles draw, where Ishiy teamed up with Bruna Takahashi. But Takahashi remains in Doha as she will play the women’s singles tournament.


All matches at the WTT Star Contender Doha will be played in a single elimination format.

Matches will be played in best-of-five format until the semi-finals. The final will then be played over seven games.


As the 5th seed, Hugo gets a bye straight into the second round. He will make his debut on Thursday (11th) against Cho Seungmin from South Korea, ranked 40th by the ITTF, or Kao Cheng-Jui from Chinese Taipei, WR 32.

If he wins, “The Thrill from Brazil” could face a tough opponent in the Round of 16, Germany’s Dang Qiu, WR 9. But Dang Qiu, last week’s WTT Finals semi-finalist also in Doha, must first beat either Denmark’s Jonathan Groth, WR 30, or China’s Zhou Qihao, WR 22.

Moving on to the quarter-finals, the main favorite is China’s Wang Chuqin, WR 2, but other notable opponents on that side of the bracket are Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, WR 14, or Swedes Truls Möregårdh, WR 19, and Mattias Falck, WR 21.

The winner of this quadrant will probably face a Chinese player in the semi-finals: Ma Long, WR 3, or Lin Gaoyuan, WR 6. South Korea’s Jang Woojin, WR 12 or Sweden’s Anton Kallberg, WR 16, are alternatives.

Finally, the top side of the bracket is headed by China’s Fan Zhendong, world ranking leader, and Liang Jingkun, WR 4. It also includes Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, WR 7, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, WR 10, China’s Lin Shidong, WR 12, Slovenia’s Darko Jorgic, WR 15,  South Korea’s Lim Jonghoon, WR 17, and Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, WR 18, as seeds.


Check out the ranking points and prize money:

Champion: 600 points / US$ 10,000
Runner-up: 420 points / US$ 7,500
Semi-Final: 210 points / US$ 4,000
Quarter-final: 105 points / US$ 2,500
Round of 16: 55 points / US$ 1,500
Round 2: 25 points / US$ 1,250
1st round: 5 points / US$ 900

This week, Hugo defends the 400 points he won for his title at the WTT Contender Durban, South Africa, in January last year.


Here is the schedule for each day of the WTT Star Contender Doha:

Wednesday (10/1) – 1st round
Thursday (11/1) – 2nd round
Friday (12/1) – Round of 16 and Quarterfinals
Saturday (13/1)- Semifinals and Finals

The matches start daily at 1pm local time (10am GMT). 


ESPN / Star+ will stream matches of the WTT Star Contender Doha in Brazil. And as always, we’ll also have our coverage on Team Calderano’s Instagram, Facebook and Telegram channels!