By Henry Chen
The 2016 ITTF China Open will be the first appearance of the Olympic champions after the Rio Olympic Games. Therefore the anticipation for this competition is high.
The hosting team will be sending a safe lineup for the men’s division with the spotlight on the Olympic trio Ma Long, Zhang Jike and Xu Xin. They will be joined by their colleagues Fan Zhendong, Zhou Yu and Fang Bo.
Meanwhile, in the women’s side, Liu Shiwen and the latest Grand Slam champion Ding Ning are expected to grace the competition together with Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng.
Chen Xingtong and Wang Manyu complete the lineup of the women’s team. They replaced Mu Zi and Hu Limei.
Chen Xingtong appeared in the ITTF World Tour circuit last January in the German Open. She went through the qualifying rounds with flying colours but was swept by Ai Fukuhara in the opening round in the main draw. Now she has an opportunity to redeem herself in Chengdu.
As for Wang Manyu, her latest achievement is defending the World Junior Championship title last year in Vendée, France. She also won in 2014 in Shanghai, China. Now her challenge is to go to the next level of her career.
China is definitely set to assert their authority in the competition in Chengdu. However, there could be some resistance.
Yuya Oshima will be one of the players of the Japanese Team in the competition. In last year’s China Open, this name stole the spotlight after he reached the semifinal stage and forced the top seed Ma Long into a tight and exciting battle.
Yuya Oshima settled with a painful defeat but promised to continue to work harder. Would he have something new to offer and declare war once again against the Chinese Team in Chengdu?
Jang Woojin is another player who has history of creating trouble against Chinese players. In the 2015 Asian Championships, the player from Korea Republic targeted the Grand Slam champion Zhang Jike and defeated him twice, both in the Team and Singles event.
Chen Chien An of Chinese Taipei will be on duty as well and is seeded in the 14th spot. This 25-year old player has repeatedly made Zhang Jike taste defeat but in the Rio Olympic Singles, Zhang Jike eliminated him.
Hina Hayata and Yui Hamamoto belong to the next generation of players of the Japanese Women’s Team. As Japan is in an increasing momentum in the sport, they need to constantly test the strength of their reserve forces against their adversaries. The competition in Chengdu will provide them such opportunity.
The 2016 ITTF SheSays China Open is scheduled on the 14th of September and will last until the 18th.