Sofia, Aug 15: The 2019 ITTF World Tour Bulgaria Open opened in the town of Panagyurishte on Thursday, with a record number of 316 paddlers from 38 countries and regions taking part.
Nine of world's top 20 men and ten of the world's top 20 women are participating in this fifth edition of the tournament, with five titles and 190,000 U.S. dollars of prize money at stake.
A total of 18 Chinese players, including six men and 12 women, are participating in the event, but with many of the country's star players not traveling to Bulgaria, only two are among the tournament's seeds.
The mixed doubles final, as well as men's and women's doubles finals will be on August 17, and the men's and women's singles finals are scheduled for August 18.
The Bulgaria Open is the fourth out of six events in the ITTF Regular Series, and the eighth event overall as the players fight for points to qualify for the season-ending Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Final from December 12 to 15.
China swept the boards at last year's Bulgaria Open, winning three titles, including Xu Xin in the men's singles, Xu and Ma Long in the men's doubles, and Ding Ning in the women's singles. (UNI-Xinhua)