by Simon Daish
Cheng I-Ching Heads Chinese Taipei Line-up
The only Chinese Taipei representative positioned in the top 32 of the Women’s Singles is Cheng I-Ching with the next highest seeded player from Chinese Taipei being Lee I-Chen (40th).
However, despite being the only player from her country seeded in the top 32 Cheng will be regarded as a favourite to succeed at the Austrian Open following impressive showings at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup.
Other contestants from Chinese Taipei alongside Cheng I-Ching and Lee I-Chen competing in Linz are: Lin Chia-Chih (68th), Hsiung Nai-I (72nd), Lin Chia-Hsuan (74th), Lin Po-Hsuan (75th) and Wang Yi-Ju (88th).
European Trio Set for Triumph?
Notably the majority of the 15 highest placed seeds represent Asian nations; there are three players from Europe in the top 15, however, who will be hoping to mount a battle for the gold medal.
Germany’s Shan Xiaona enters the tournament as the highest seeded European at the 2016 Austrian Open in sixth, while former European champion Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Hungary’s Georgina Pota, who won the 2016 Belgium Open title, are placed 13th and 14th respectively.
Nine more Europeans make up the rest of the top 32 seeds with Portugal’s Fu Yu and Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm sitting 16th and 18th.
Contenders to watch
Cheng I-Ching may be the number one seed for the event but sitting just behind her are some notable other major names to watch.
Mima Ito became the youngest table tennis player to win an Olympic medal when she helped Japan to a Women’s Team bronze at Rio 2016. The 16-year-old will head into the 2016 Austrian Open seeded in second place.
Hong Kong has two contestants inside the top 10 in Linz with Doo Hoi Kem (fourth) and Lee Ho Ching (eighth) both well placed heading into the competition, while Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee (third) and Suh Hyowon (10th) alongside fifth seed Singapore’s Zeng Jian will be just some of the big name contenders looking to make a positive impact at the Open.