by Simon Daish
The top 64 seeded players in both the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles competitions move directly through to the main draw which commences on Wednesday 31st May, while the remaining contestants will attempt to negotiate two days of qualification matches.
Tobias Rasmussen, who became Danish national champion earlier in the year, has been placed in a group of three players alongside Argentina’s Nicolas Galvano and Turkmenistan’s Didar Shaymanov. Will the Dane enjoy a happy start to his World Championships campaign?
Another star to keep a close eye on is Ojo Onaolapo. The highly rated 22-year-old from Nigeria will begin his Men’s Singles journey against Cypriot player Christos Savva before taking on Avo Moumjoghlian of Lebanon on the opening day in Düsseldorf.
Kanak Jha is one of the most exciting table tennis talents from the United States of America and will be hoping to pick up a positive result in his opening group match against Sonpasith Mosangsinh of Laos, while emerging Greek star Ioannis Sgouropoulos also gets his campaign underway.
Play will also commence in the Women’s Singles tournament and there are quite a few big name players who will be aiming to enjoy a strong start to the qualifying rounds.
Brazil’s Bruna Takahashi could be one of the stand out players of the group stage having shown great progress in her game over the past couple of years; she takes to the table against Lithuania’s Aukse Geceviciute in her opening encounter.
The Women’s Singles gold medallist from the 2016 ITTF-African Senior Championships is also set to feature: can the highly experienced Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria get off to a winning start in Düsseldorf and give her qualifying hopes a major boost?
Other competitors who will be looking to impress on day one include Puerto Rico’s Melanie Diaz and Italy’s Debora Vivarelli, who face respective opening duels with Regina Kim of Uzbekistan and Swechchha Nembang of Nepal.
Alongside the singles qualifying action, day one will also host qualifying encounters from the doubles competitions.
Both the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events will play out matches in the preliminary round of 128 stage, while qualification action from the Mixed Doubles tournament will conclude by the close of the opening day.
The Opening Ceremony and Draw