by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In Düsseldorf, it is theoretically possible that the two could meet again in the round of the last eight but we must be careful not to expect too much of Miu Hirano; a delight to watch but the videos of her playing will have been scrutinised time and again in the past few weeks by eager adversaries seeking revenge.
Equally, at this stage of proceedings, the possible meeting is very much conjecture.
Ding Ning appears in the same section of the draw as Li Jie of the Netherlands, the no.14 seed, a player who at the Perfect 2016 World Championships gave the Chinese star a torrid time. They are in the same quarter of the draw as the Japanese duo of Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.6 seed and Hitomi Sato, the no.9 seed.
“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 match as it comes. I will surely do my best to achieve the best.” Ding Ning
However, in round three, Germany’s Sabine Winter is a potential adversary against Li Jie; she is notably effective against defensive play and with home crowd support could well produce an upset.
Similarly, in round two, Miu Hirano could well confront Romania’s Adina Diaconu in a contest that is arguably the best of young Europe versus the best of young Asia. Also, in round three Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem could await, whilst in round four, Singapore’s Feng Tianwei is a possible adversary.
Meanwhile, in the lower half of the draw, China’s Zhu Yuling, the 3 seed and Japan’s Mima Ito, the no.9 seed, could well face each other, as could Austria’s Liu Jia, the no.12 seed and Cheng Meng, the 5 seed. A quarter-final clash between Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
Looking into the crystal ball, Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.7 seed and Korea’s Yang Haeun, the no.16 seed, could be round four Women’s Singles clash, as could the host nation’s Petrissa Solja, the no.13 seed and China’s Liu Shiwen, the no.2 seed.
However, DPR Korea could be a force that prevents such a possibility. Yang Haeun may meet Ri Mu Gyong in round two; Kim Song I is a possible opponent for Petrissa Solja in round three.
The first round of the Women’s Singles event commences on Wednesday 31st May.
The Opening Ceremony and Draw