Chuang Chih-Yuan Returns to Top Ten but China Retains Leading Places
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Chuang Chih-Yuan regains a top ten place
Photo By: Pablo Rubio
A disappointing performance at the GAC GROUP Toyota Asian Cup in Guangzhou in early April but then back to form in Almeria later in the month at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Spanish Open, Chinese Taipei’s 31 year old Chuang Chih-Yuan returns to the highest echelons.
The Men’s World Rankings published by the International Table Tennis Federation on Friday 4th May 2012, lists the quicksilver Chuang Chih-Yuan at no.10. After almost four years outside the very elite of the sport, he returns.
He has not enjoyed a place in the top ten since August 2008 when as at present he was in tenth spot.
Performances in April At the GAC GROUP Toyota Asian Cup in Guangzhou, he suffered an unexpected quarter-final defeat at the hands of Japan’s totally unpredictable Maharu Yoshimura; before, in Spain, securing gold.
In Almeria, he recorded a semi-final victory over Maharu Yoshimura’s top seeded colleague, Jun Mizutani and Korea’s Lee Jung Woo in the final.
Lee Jung Woo, as a result of his efforts climbs three places to no.19, with Maharu Yoshimura moving from no.135 to no.117.
Down One Place The player to lose his top ten spot is Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, beaten by Lee Jung Woo in Spain; he falls one place to no.11 and thus changes positions with Lee Jung Woo.
Otherwise, there is no change to the Men’s World Rankings published in early April.
Top Spot Retained Ma Long, despite his shock defeat at the hands of Japan’s Koki Niwa at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Hong Kong, retains his top billing, on a list that sees China occupy the first five places.
Ma Long remain in top place ahead of Zhang Jike, Wang Hao, Xu Xin and Ma Lin Photo by Rémy Gros
Next in Line Zhang Jike retains his no.2 spot followed by Wang Hao, Xu Xin and Ma Lin, whilst Wang Liqin, who suffered a shock quarter-final defeat in Guangzhou against Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan, remains no.9.
Germany’s Timo Boll solidifies his no.6 position ahead of Jun Mizutani and Korea’s Joo Sae Hyuk.
New Highs Meanwhile for Koki Niwa and Noshad Alamiyan, the giant killers, the both continue their ascent.
In April they both enjoyed career high rankings, in May the scenario is repeated. Koki Niwa climbs from no.19 to no.17, Noshad Alamiyan from no. 82 to no.78.
Progress for Koki Niwa following his incredible win over Ma Long in Hong Kong Photo by Rémy Gros
Olympic Qualifiers Both have qualified for the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games and for several players who enjoyed success at the Continental Olympic Games Qualification Tournaments in April there is noticeable progress.
Hong Kong’s Leung Chu Yan moves from no.35 no.30, he qualified in Hong Kong as did Korea’s Kim Hyok Bong; he advances 13 places from no.90 to no.77.
Success in Luxembourg Travelling west, in Luxembourg, the Portuguese duo of Marcos Freitas and João Monteiro both booked their flights to London.
Marcos Freitas moves from no.37 to no.31 and João Monteiro from no.57 to no.36; it is the highest World Ranking ever achieved by João Monteiro and the first time he has broken through the top 50 barrier.
João Monteiro gains the highest World Ranking of his career Photo by Rémy Gros
Also Making Progress Also, as a result of their efforts in Luxembourg, there is notable progress for Russia’s Kirill Skachkov, Serbia’s Aleksandar Karakasevic, Spain’s He Zhiwen and Hungary’s Adam Pattantyus.
Kirill Skachkov climbs from no.45 to no.39, Aleksandar Karakasevic from no.56 to no.40 and the evergreen He Zhiwen from no.86 to to no.62. Not to be outdone, Adam Pattantyus, formerly at no.133, is now at no.81.
Disappointment but Higher Rankings Equally, for two players who challenged but did not quite make the grade in Luxembourg, there is progress.
Emmanuel Lebesson of France moves from no.72 to no.42, with Turkey’s Bora Vang climbing from no.117 to no.82.
Disappointment in Luxembourg but a higher Men’s World Ranking for Emmanuel Lebesson Photo by Rémy Gros
Fine Performances on Tour Progress as a result of fine performances at the Olympic Qualification Tournaments and there is progress for those who excelled on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour in April.
Singapore’s Gao Ning, the winner in Chile, advances two places to no.14, whilst compatriot Zhan Jian, who Gao Ning beat in the Men’s Singles semi-finals in Chile, is now at no.27. Previously he was at no.33.
Similarly, there is progress for Brazil’s Cazuo Matsumoto and for the Japan’s duo of Kenji Matsudaira and Kazuo Chan.
Kenji Matsudaira who reached the third round in Spain and the quarter-finals in Chile, progresses from no.41 to no.34: Kazuhiro Chan who beat colleague Jun Mizutani on his way to the Men’s Singles final in Chile is now at no.38, with Cazuo Matsumoto, the player he defeated in the penultimate round, now at no.85.
Barriers Broken Formerly, Kazuhiro Chan was at no.60 and Cazuo Matsumoto at no.109.
It is for Kazuhiro Chan the first time he has broken the top 40 barrier and for Cazuo Matsumoto, the first time with the top 100.
A new high for Kazuhiro Chan, a breakthrough into the top 40 Photo by Rémy Gros
Disappointment Progress for some but for others disappointment.
Notably, Korea’s Seo Hyun Deok and Kim Min Seok both fall; Seo Hyun Deok who was out of form at the GAC Toyota Asian.b Cup is now at no.42 having in April been at no.27; whilst Kim Min Seok, not on international duty in April, is now at no.37.
Previously he was at no.31.
Similarly, not in international action, Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and Kaii Yoshida both descend the rankings; formerly at no.36, Kenta Matsudaira is now at no.44 with Kaii Yoshida falling from no.339 to no.47.
Also Stumbling In addition, not in form on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Singapore’s Li Hu falls from no.38 to no.52; whilst not securing Olympic places at the Continental Olympic Qualification Tournaments it is the downward trend for Croatia’s Andrej Gacina, the Slovak Republic’s Thomas Keinath and India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta.
Andrej Gacina drops from no.58 to no.71, Thomas Keinath from no.51 to no.72 and Sharath Kamal Achanta from no.69 to no.83.
Andrej Gacina moving in the wrong direction Photo by Rémy Gros
Koreans Change Places Changes lower down the Men’s World Rankings but not at the very top; in the age group listings it is a very similar situation.
In the Under 21 Men’s and Under 18 Boys’ Rankings, Koki Niwa retains first place, the only change in the top three being in the former where the Koreans, Kim Min Seok and Seom Hyun Deok change places.
Kim Min Seok is now at no.2, Seo Hyun Deok at no.3.
No Change However, on the Under 18 Boys’ list there is no change.
China’s Lin Gaoyuan remains at no.2 followed by Simon Gauzy of France; whilst on the Cadet Boys’ list there is also no change at the very top.
Zhou Qihao retains his no.1 rating followed by Chinese colleague Yu Ziyang and Japan’s Kohei Samba.
Zhou Qihao remain at the top of the Under 15 Boys’ World Rankings Photo by Quique Aparicio