by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Furthermore, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.7 seed and former World no.1, appears in the same half.
Chen Chien-An, who beat Zhang Jike at the recent 2016 ITTF World Tour Korea Open last month, is set to meet the London gold medallist in the third round; whilst at the quarter-final stage a potential clash between Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Vladimir Samsonov beckons.
“Ovtcharov and I are best friends and we are teammates as well, we know each other very well”, said Vladimir Samsonov, who plays alongside Dimitrij Ovtchariv at TTC Fakel Gazprom in the Russian League.
“But it’s competition”, he added. “So we will all do our best to fight for a medal here.”
Germany Faces Chinese Taipei
The German Men’s Team have won medals in the past two Olympic Games; silver in Beijing, bronze in London. However in Rio, it will not be easy for them as they will face the strong team of Chinese Taipei led by Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.5 seed in the Men’s Singles event.
Top seed and hot favourite in the Women’s Singles event, China’s Ding Ning may face some of the world’s best defenders on her way to securing an Olympic gold. Li Jie of the Netherlands and Germany’s Han Ying both appear in the same half of the draw.
“It’s going to be a test on my ability against defending players this time in Rio”, said Ding Ning. “I am fully prepared it!”
Kuala Lumpur Revisited
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Team event Germany and Japan could meet in the semi-finals; the teams met earlier this year at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Japan beat Germany by three matches to nil at the quarter-final stage. In Rio de Janeiro, Kasumi Ishikawa, Ai Fukuhara and Mima Ito once again form the Japanese team but the German line-up is very different.
Petrissa Solja remains but Kristin Silbereisen and Sabine Winter are replaced by Han Ying and Shan Xiaona, who were not eligible to compete in Kuala Lumpur.
A potential intriguing encounter awaits.