Top seeded DING Ning (CHN) is likely to have a rematch of her Asian Championships encounter against 2017 Asian Champion Miu HIRANO (JPN) in the semifinals for her chance to avenge her loss.
Dubbed “Hurricane Hirano” after upsetting three higher ranked top Chinese players to become the first non-Chinese Champion since 1996, the 17-year-old Japanese sensation shared “I think winning many titles has made the media to give me many positive names and I think this is good for me as it will motivate me to aim for more titles. Also playing in the Chinese league made me to learn how to play against the Chinese players and this is what helped me to be where I am today.”
“I think not making World Championships team the team in 2016 really spurred me on to really work harder and the rewards of the diligent were the titles I have been winning and I hope more titles will come in for me.”
Reigning World and Olympic Champion DING’s aim will not just be looking for revenge, but to defend her hard-earned title from 2015. The world number one stated at the press conference that “This is the World Championship and it is the highest level of table tennis and every player in this competition is playing under pressure just like me. I am in this tournament to do my best and my focus is to take each game as it comes. I will surely do my best to achieve the best.”
The Men’s Singles could see a classic clash between Grand Slam Champions MA Long (CHN) and ZHANG Jike (CHN) in the final. The long-term rivals’ last encounter was at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Men’s Singles final where MA stood victorious to claim his first Olympic Singles title, but two-time World Champion ZHANG will too be fighting his best for a third crown.
China’s XU Xin will be looking to set up a quarterfinals meeting against Japan’s Jun MIZUTANI to revenge his loss in the Olympic Team final last year in Rio de Janeiro.
The mixed associations Men’s Doubles pairing between host country’s Timo BOLL (GER) and reigning World & Olympic Champion MA Long is undoubtedly one of the main fan focuses for the 2017 World Championships. The partnership between the two table tennis superstars at the Qoros 2015 World Championships was in vain after losing to MA’s teammates and eventual Champions XU Xin and ZHANG Jike in the second round of the Men’s Doubles event. Their draw is no easier this time around, as the popular duo are due to meet the Chinese pair of XU Xin and FAN Zhendong in the third round.
On the pairing, MA commented “I haven’t had the chance to practise with Timo yet, but the two of us have partnered each other few times before and we have had some good results and our playing styles are rather similar as well. Over the next few days we will be training hard and do our best to do better this time round.”
The Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships will see 613 players from 108 countries fighting for the five titles up for grabs in Germany: Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
With the draw concluded, qualification for the remaining 64 spots available in the singles main draw of 128 will starts tomorrow 29 May 2017, with the main draw starting 31 May. The Women’s champion will be crowned on 4 June and the Men’s on 5 June.