by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
However, before any thoughts of announcing the finalists are made, a great deal of water has yet to flow under the proverbial bridge.
Notably, Xu Xin is in the same quarter of the draw as Jun Mizutani, the no. 6 seed, the player against whom he experienced defeat in the Men’s Team final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
A potential quarter-finalist but who knows what may happen; in the second round Jun Mizutani may well have to face 12 year old colleague, Tomokazu Harimoto, whilst a potential fourth round adversary is Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik. Also, China’s Lin Gaoyuan, a player with the ability to secure a medal, is in the same part of the draw as Xu.
Likewise, in the round of the last, Ma Long could well face Timo Boll, the no.8 seed; the German being in the same section of the draw as Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, the 14 seed and England’s Liam Pitchford. Marcos Freitas and Liam Pitchford are due to meet in the second round.
“It’s a tough draw but the practice is now over, let’s get started”, Timo Boll
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the Men’s Singles draw, Zhang Jike has a potential fourth round meeting with Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the 12 seed; whilst in the same quarter, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, the no.7 seed, could well face, Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.13 seed.
“For this tournament, I think I have prepared very well and lost a few kilos in the last few weeks and I am now back to my Rio Olympic Games shape. Even with this, I must admit that with the quality of players in the tournament, it is getting more difficult to win medal in this kind of championship.” Vladimir Samsonov
All is possible but for Simon Gauzy there is a most dangerous adversary in his part of the draw; he could well meet Korea’s Jeong Sangeun in round two, the player who ended the hopes of Ma Long in the third round of the Men’s Singles event at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships.
A dangerous adversary and there is a potential dangerous second round opponent for the host nation’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.5 seed; he could well face England’s Paul Drinkhall.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov is in the same quarter of the draw as Fan Zhendong; potential fourt round adversaries being respectively Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.10 seed and Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia, the no.16 seed.
The main draw in the Men’s Singles event commences on Wednesday 31st May.
The Opening Ceremony and Draw