by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It is the highest status for any Brazilian or Latin American player since computerisation was used but it is not the highest ever; that distinction belongs to his compatriot, Ubiraci Rodrigues da Costa, better known as Biriba.
After beating China’s Rong Guotuan, the defending champion, at the 1961 World Championships in Beijing, Biriba was listed at no.19 on the Men’s World Rankings. He stood alongside Yugoslavia’s Vojislav Markovic and the Swedish duo of Hans Alser and Tony Larsson.
Notably, in 1958 when visiting Brazil, only 13 years old Biriba beat both Toshiaki Tanaka and Ichiro Ogimura, the players, who one year earlier in Stockholm had contested the Men’s Singles final at the World Championships; Toshiaki Tanaka had emerged the winner.
Now approaching six decades later, there is another 13 year old who is attracting the attention. Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, heads the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings ahead of Korea’s Cho Seungmin and China’s Niu Guangkai; likewise, he reserves top spot on the Under 15 Boys’ World Rankings with Niu Guangkai and colleague Yukiya Uda being next in line.
Next year in late January, he will be 14 years old; to match Biriba, he has less than seven months to beat Ma Long and Fang Bo!
A career high for Hugo Calderano, who remains in second place on Under 21 Men’s World Rankings, one place behind China’s Fan Zhendong with Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu and Poland’s Jakub Dyjas changing places to be the next in line, it is the same for three further young men.
Sweden’s Mattias Karlsson, the runner up on home soil at the ITTF World Tour Swedish Open, moves from no.46 to no.26; Germany’s Benedikt Duda from no.67 to no.43 and Ricardo Walther, also from Germany, from no.91 to no.62. The prior best for Mattias Karlsson was no.35 earlier this year in September, for Ricardo Walther no.70 in November 2014.
Meanwhile for Benedikt Duda it is continual progress; his previous best was the previous month’s listing. Significantly, one year ago in December 2015, he stood at no.133!
New heights for Benedikt Duda; also for India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta, there is positive progress but the gain a career best, he has some distance to travel. He climbs from no.76 to no.60; in May and June 2015, he reached no.32.
Good news for Sweden and India but it is tempered; the former’s Pär Gerell and Anton Källberg both experience notable decline, as does the latter’s Soumyajit Ghosh. Also it is the downward trend for China’s Zhou Yu.
Pär Gerell falls from no.27 to no.38, Anton Källberg from no.63 to no.86; similarly Soumyajit Ghosh drops from no.68 to no.81 and Zhou Yu from no.17 to no.35.
A drop in status for Zhou Yu but for his illustrious colleagues, it is the status quo. Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike retain the top four respective places ahead of Japan’s Jun Mizutani, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Chinese Taipei’s Wong Chun Ting.
Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus remains at no.8 with, as the previous month Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan, Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Germany’s Timo Boll being the next in line.
The only change amongst the elite names is that of Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, he changes places with Fang Bo; Marcos Freitas is now in the no.12 spot.
It is the 22nd consecutive occasion that Ma Long has been named in top spot when the monthly World Rankings have been issued; he regained the illustrious position in March 2015.
Overall, it is the 53rd time he has headed the listings. He first ascended to the pinnacle in January 2010.
Thursday 1st December: Latest World Rankings