Hugo Calderano, a semi-finalist in 2023, surpassed his previous achievement by securing a spot in the final of the 2024 WTT Star Contender Ljubljana on Sunday morning. He continued his good form by defeating South Korean Cho Daeseong in table tennis, winning 3 sets to 0 (11/7, 11/2, and 12/10). In the final, the Brazilian, seeded second in the tournament, will face off against Frenchman Felix Lebrun, the top-ranked player in the competition, later on Sunday at 2 pm (Brasília time).

“This was a tough match against a very strong opponent who serves well and is also very good in rallies. I had to play well from the beginning, and fortunately, I was able to serve well and be quite aggressive. I am very happy with the victory and reaching the final,” said Calderano. “It is always a great experience, and I love playing in finals. We don’t always have this opportunity, so I am happy to be able to compete for the title,” he added.

This was the second meeting between the two athletes in 2024. In their first encounter at the WTT Smash Singapore, Daeseong won 3-1. They also faced each other in 2021, with Calderano emerging victorious in the WTT Star Contender Doha. The Brazilian is aiming to win his seventh title in the WTT Series, having just defeated an opponent who won two titles this year: the WTT Feeder Manchester and the WTT Feeder Otocec.

Calderano and Felix Lebrun are meeting for the second time in a final in the 2024 season. Including all stages, this will be their third encounter this year, with each player winning once. At the end of January, Calderano was defeated by Lebrun and finished as runner-up in the WTT Star Contender Goa in India. However, Calderano got his revenge just over two months later by defeating Lebrun in the quarterfinals of the WTT Champions Incheon in South Korea. The record between them also includes a match in 2023, where Lebrun emerged victorious in the quarterfinals of the WTT Contender Antalya in Turkey.

Looking ahead to the final against Felix Lebrun, Calderano analyzed the upcoming match. “He is in great form, winning most of his matches, and I expect nothing less than a great battle. I believe he will play at his best, and I hope to give my all, fight, and maybe win this title,” projected the Brazilian table tennis player.

In order to reach the final of the 2024 WTT Star Contender Ljubljana, Felix Lebrun, the top seed in Slovenia, defeated Japanese player Tomokazu Harimoto in the semifinals by 3-2. Prior to that, the Frenchman eliminated Danish player Jonathan Groth in five sets, German player Timo Boll by retirement, and Romanian player Cedric Nuytinck in straight games. Calderano, on the other hand, defeated Anders Lind from Denmark, An Jaehyun from South Korea, and Mattias Falck from Sweden.

The semi-final match between Calderano and Daeseong was a closely contested affair. The Brazilian took an early lead but soon faced a comeback from the South Korean. However, Calderano managed to secure the first set with a score of 11-7. The second set was dominated by Calderano, who won comfortably with a score of 11-2. In the third set, Daeseong put up a fight, but Calderano ultimately emerged victorious with a score of 12-10 after a tough battle.

The final promises to be an exciting match between two top players in the world of table tennis. Both Calderano and Lebrun have shown their skills and determination throughout the tournament, setting the stage for a thrilling final showdown. Fans can expect a high level of play and intense competition as these two talented athletes vie for the championship title.