06 Mar 2017

Now that we are passed the half way point in stage one of the Chinese trials, it's time to look at who has best positioned themselves to take the ticket to the Liebherr 2017 World Championships. And in breaking news the Marvellous 12 is down to 11 with one of the tournament's biggest names pulling out of the first stage.

by Wade Townsend

It’s been a busy three days in Shenzhen. If you haven’t been keeping tally at home, here is a review of the standings so far.

In a battle for top of the ladder on day three, Ma Long took hold of the number one position by taking down Xu Xin 2-1. With that win Ma looks like he soon could be packing his bags for Dusseldorf.

In breaking news this morning we have also learnt that Zhang Jike has withdrawn from stage one of the trials with a foot injury.

Zhang Jike looked to be struggling to move in his matches on day three and has drifted towards the bottom of the table. He managed to take a game off Xu Xin, however it was straight game losses in his other two encounters.

It has been confirmed that Zhang hopes to compete in the second stage of the trials, injury permitting.

In the women’s side of the draw the two queens of Chinese table tennis have firmly established themselves at top of the table.

Queen of Hearts Ding Ning and Queen of Diamonds Liu Shiwen have both kept a clean sheet after six matches. It has been an imperious performance by the pair and the smart money is on a head to head encounter determining which player will top the table at the end of the week.

That is unless Mu Zi has something to say about it.

Mu has provided the surprise performance of the event so far. With five wins and only one loss, she has separated herself from the pack and kept pace with table leaders.

However, day four will be make or break for Mu Zi. She will face off against both Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen. If she can manage to notch up a win today she may find herself in contention for a ticket to Düsseldorf on the final day of play.

Day four commences Monday 6th March at 13:05 (GMT+8) local time, so be sure to catch the action live on the ITTF Facebook page.

China News ma long Ding Ning xu xin liu shiwen Mu Zi