by Simon Daish
Some of the world’s biggest names in table tennis have already ensured their invitations to the World Tour Grand Finals. There are still a few places up for grabs in the Men’s and Women’s Singles categories; the two ITTF World Tour events to be played in Austria and Sweden are set to bring fans ever closer to knowing the line-up for the end of year event in Doha.
Andrej Gacina (CRO) and Tomas Konecny (CZE) will move into the final two World Tour competitions knowing that if they outperform Japan’s Koki Niwa in the Men’s Singles events in Linz and Stockholm, then an invitation to Doha could potentially be heading in their direction.
There are still opportunities for Tiago Apolonia (POR), Ho Kwan Kit (HKG) and Simon Gauzy (FRA) to make an appearance at the Grand Finals. If one of the above players reaches the Men’s Singles final of the Austrian Open then a spot at next month’s showdown could move into sight; however, if their progress in Linz is halted at the semi-finals stage then the hopes of the three competitors could hinge on their results at the Swedish Open.
Marcos Freitas could find the task of qualifying for the Doha Men’s Singles category difficult: he has decided against participation at the Austrian Open meaning that he could require an exceptional outcome in Stockholm.
The Women’s Singles category for the World Tour Grand Finals has already seen the likes of Ding Ning (CHN), Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN) and Feng Tianwei (SIN) meet the qualification criteria for Doha 2016. The battle for tournament spaces has yet to conclude though, with one interesting scenario in particular gaining the attention ahead of the Austrian and Swedish Opens:
Japanese Table Tennis fans will be hoping to see Mima Ito and Hitomi Sato cement their grip on the final Women’s Singles places depending on strong showings in Linz and Stockholm, however, if Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon or Jeon Jihee manage to obtain a top four finish at the Austrian Open then there is a possibility of potentially seeing either one or both of the Korean players receive an invitation to Doha.
ITTF World Tour Standings
Sunday 6th November: Latest Standings after 2016 ITTF World Tour Belgium Open