by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Halfway through the year, time flies; six Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour tournaments have been completed, six more remain before the end of year Grand Finals.
China’s Ma Long continues to lead the Men’s Singles Standings (1,050 points), with colleague Fan Zhendong (650 points) being one place behind Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Next in line is Timo Boll, beaten by his German colleague in the Chengdu final (575 points). He is followed by Japan’s Koki Niwa (378 points), China’s Fang Bo (331 points), Tomokazu Harimoto, also from Japan (325 points) and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (300 points). They complete the top eight names.
Semi-finalist in Chengdu, beaten by compatriot Ding Ning, Chen Meng leads the Women’s Singles Standings (1,031 points). She is one place ahead of Sun Yingsha (800 points), the Chinese teenager who has very much announced her arrival following her title win in Japan and runners up spot on home soil.
Germany’s Shan Xiaona (366 points) followed by the Japanese duo of Sakura Mori (341 points) and Miu Hirano (288 points) complete the leading eight names.
Meanwhile, despite not competing as a partnership at the Seamsater 2017 ITTF World Tour China Open, Japan’s Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima retain top spot on the Men’s Doubles Standings (1,050 points). They are one place ahead of colleagues Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura (300 points), who share second place alongside Ma Long and Xu Xin.
Likewise on the Women’s Doubles Standings, Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun, despite a semi-final defeat in Chengdu at the hands of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, retain top spot (425 points), being one place ahead of the combination formed by Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’ Georgina Pota (319 points). Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen share third spot (300 points) alongside colleagues Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha as well as Chen Meng and Wang Manyu.
Top places retained; it is the same on the Under 21 Men’s Singles and Under 21 Women’s Singles Standings. Korea’s Lim Jonghoon leads the former (575 points), Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the latter (375 points).
Next in line to Lim Jonghoon is Lam Siu Hang, like Doo Hoi Kem from Hong Kong (435 points) with Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri, the Chengdu winner in third place (428 points). Immediately in pursuit of Doo Hoi Kem is colleague Minnie Soo Wai Yam with Japan’s Maki Shiomi, crowned champion in China, in third spot (313 points).
In order to qualify for the end of year Grand Finals, in the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events, a player must have competed in a minimum five ITTF World Tour tournaments throughout the year; for the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles events, at least four appearances as a partnership is the requirement.
At the Grand Finals, a total of 16 players compete in each of the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; overall it is eight pairs in Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles competitions.