Xu Xin Regains Top Spot on World Rankings as Stars Prepare for Paris Showdown
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Xu Xin back on top of the World
Photo By: Donald Chin
Outstanding throughout April, Xu Xin regains his position at the top of the Menís World Rankings, a place he held earlier in the year in January and February, before being replaced in March by Chinese National Team compatriot, Ma Long.
On the Menís listings published by the International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday 1st May 2013, the rankings that will determine the seeding for the Menís and Womenís Singles events at the forthcoming LIEBHERR World Championships, it is all change at the top.
Xu Xin and Ma Long change places as do their compatriots Wang Hao and Zhang Jike; Wang Hao is now at no.3, Zhang Jike is at no.4.
Remain the Same The remaining elite places all remain the same. Germanyís Timo Boll is at no.5 followed by Chinese Taipeiís Chuang Chih-Yuan, colleague Dimitrij Ovtcharov and the Chinese duo of Ma Lin and Wang Liqin.
Japanís Jun Mizutani completes the top ten names with Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and Chinaís Hao Shuai being at no.11 and no.12 respectively.
Progress for Yan An Seven of the top 12 players from China and it they may soon be joined by one more; the player to make the most noticeable progress is Yan An.
The 20 year old moves from no.22 to no.14 on the Menís Wiorld Rankings, the highest listing of his career; his previous best was no.21 earlier this year in March.
Successful April A new status for Yan An and a return to status for Xu Xin; the effects of a successful April for both players but not for Zhang Jike as he prepares to defend his Menís Singles title at the forthcoming LIEBHERR World Championships.
At the ITTF World Tour Korean Air Korea Open, Yan An beat Zhang Jike in the quarter-finals, before losing to Xu Xin in the penultimate round; a tournament in which there was no stopping Xu Xin.
After ending the hopes of Yan An, he overcome Ma Long in the final, the latter the semi-final winner against Wang Hao.
Yan An, twice defeated by Xu Xin but rapidly climbing the World Rankings Photo by Ricky Leung
Victory in Hong Kong Success for Xu Xin in Korea, one week later it was success in Hong Kong.
He won the Menís event at the GAC GROUP Asian Cup beating Yan An in the final, the latter having made an inauspicious start losing to Japanís Yuto Muramatsu in his very first match.
Career Boost Later, injury forced Yuto Muramatsu to withdraw from proceedings but his win over Yan An has boosted his career.
He climbs from no.52 to no.46 on the newly published list and enjoys a career high; his previous best was no.51 earlier this year in March.
Making Progress Also making progress as a result of their efforts in April are Iranís Noshad Alamiyan, Brazilís Gustavo Tsuboi, Russiaís Alexey Liventsov, Japanís Maharu Yoshimura and Koreaís Kang Dongsoo.
In Hong Kong at the GAC GROUP Asian Cup, Noshad Alamiyan finished proceedings in fourth place, recording notable wins over the host associationís Tang Peng, Koreaís Seo Hyundeok and Chinese Taipeiís Chen Chien-An.
He climbs from no.63 to no.51 and approaches his best ever ranking; in December 2012, he stood at no.40.
Noshad Alamiyan excelled at the GAC GROUP Asian Cup in Hong Kong, the effect a high World status Photo by Zhang Yong
Clinched Bronze Medal Fourth place in Hong Kong for Noshad Alamiyan, for a fellow left hander in the guise of Gustavo Tsuboi it was third place in Santo Domingo at the ITTF-Latin American Cup, the Brazilian overcoming colleague, Cazuo Matsumoto, in the bronze medal match.
Gustavo Tsuboi climbs ten places from no.89 to no.79 and reaches new heights; his previous best was no.88 in January 2012. Alas for Cazuo Matsumoto, who was also beaten by the eventual winner in Santo Domingo compatriot, Thiago Monteiro in the semi-final stage; it is a drop of nine places. He falls from no.45 to no.54.
Not Good News for Singaporean Nine places lower for Cazuo Matsumoto, for Singaporeís Yang Zi, the news is worse; eliminated before the quarter-finals in Hong Kong, he falls ten places from no.98 to no.108.
Fine Performances in Korea No creditable wins for Yang Zi in Hong Kong; but that was not the situation for Alexey Liventsov, Maharu Yoshimura and Kang Dangsoo in Incheon.
Alexey Liventsov beat Japanís Seiya Kishikawa before losing to Ma Long; Maharu Yoshimura accounted for Turkeyís Bora Vang prior to being defeated by Zhang Jike, whilst Kang Dongsoo excelled to overcome the Japanese duo of Yuto Muramatsu and Kazuhiro Chan. Korean compatriot, Ryu Seungmin ended endeavours.
Continued progress for Kang Dongsoo; now into the top one hundred Photo by An Sung Ho
New Heights The result of the efforts is that all three have new career high rankings. Alexey Liventsov moves from no.104, to no.88; his previous best being no.95 in September 2011. Maharu Yoshimura is now at no.94 with Kang Dongsoo being at no.98.
In April Maharu Yoshimura stood at no.105, his best ever being no.99 earlier this year in February, whilst for Kang Dongsoo it is continual progress and for the first time a top one hundred place.
One month earlier he was at no.118, his highest prior status.
Top of List Progress for Yan An on the Menís list, also means progress on the Under 21 Menís World Rankings.
He replaces Japanís Koki Niwa in the no.1 spot, Koki Niwa is now at no.2 followed by Chinaís Fang Bo, Koreaís Kim Minseok and Fan Zhendong, also from China, who retain their April places.
Top Place Retained Fifth place on the Under 21 Menís World Rankings, it is top place for Fan Zhendong on the Under 18 Boys list.
Japanís Yuto Muramatsu is now clear in second place having shared that berth with Lin Gaoyuan, also from China, one month earlier.
Lin Gaoyang is now in third place ahead of Japanís Masataka Morizono and Tristan Flore of France. Masataka Morizono climbs two places, Tristan Flore frops one place.
Yuto Muramatsu now in clear second place on the Under 18 Boysí World Rankings Photo by Patrick Wong
Yu Ziyang Continues to Lead Chinese names at the top of the Under 21 Menís World Rankings and Under 18 Boysí World Rankings, it is the same on the Under 15 list.
Yu Ziyang continues to lead the way ahead of colleague, Wei Shihao; Hong Kongís Hung Ka Tak and Chen Peng, also from China, remain in third and fourth places respectively, with Koreaís Cho Seungmin being the player to make the most significant strides amongst the elite names. He moves from no.8 to no.5.
Eyes Focus on French Capital City Now attention turns to Paris; the LIEBHERR World Championships and an intriguing tournament beckons.
The top two seeds in the Menís Singles event will be two players who have never secured the crown, Xu Xin and Ma Long.
Ma Long will be the second seed in the Menís Singles event at the LIEBHERR World Championships Photo by Xi Peng