by Wade Townsend
We’re now almost a hundred days away from the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships and China has begun the first stages of selecting their team.
Fourteen of China’s strongest are making a stand for spots in the men’s squad heading to Düsseldorf.
The top eight players will move on to the final qualification event to be held in Shenzhen early next month. Both Ma Long and Zhang Jike already have spots guaranteed in Shenzhen. Meanwhile the coaching staff will select two more players to battle it out for a place in the team.
It’s a do or die situation, with all matches being played as best of three games.
Top ranked Fan Zhendong made a rough start losing to Zhou Yu by the narrowest margins, going down 12-14 in the third. He was able to turn it around quickly in the second round and scored an important win over Xu Xin 11-5, 12-14, 11-8.
Zhou Kai remains the only player with a clean sheet, however he had relatively straightforward opening encounters, managing to avoid the big names. It will be a tough road ahead if he still wants to be holding the top spot at the end of day two.
Check out the full standings from day one below.