by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, he will become the first ever player to win in all five continents – Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania – on the ITTF World Tour; conversely, if the verdict goes in favour Simon Gauzy, it will be his first ever ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles events; it is the first time that players representing China have appeared this century, in fact for two decades; the most recent occasion was 1998 in Melbourne when Yang Ying won the Women’s Singles event and partnered Wang Chen to Women’s Doubles success.
Additionally, should Wang Manyu beat Chen Meng in the all-Chinese Women’s Singles final, it will be her first ever ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title.
Furthermore, in the Women’s Doubles event, should Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling win, it will be first place for the first seeds. If the verdict goes in favour of Chen Xingtong and Wang Manyu it will be their first ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles title as a partnership in their first ever such final.
Likewise, whatever the decision in the Men’s Doubles event, there will be firsts; Korea’s Jang Woojin and Park Ganghyeon face Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh.
They are the respective first two seeded pairings but no pairing from either Chinese Taipei or Korea has ever won the Men’s Doubles title at an ITTF World Tour event in Australia. In fact no Korean pair has ever reached the final, the only Chinese Taipei appearance being in 1999, when Chang Yen-Shu and Chiang Peng-Lung experienced defeat in the final when facing Austria’s Karl Jindrak and Werner Schlager.
Also neither Jang Woojin and Park Ganghyeon nor Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh, as a pairing, has ever previously appeared in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final.
Jang Woojin with three different partners in the guise of Jeong Sangeun, Lim Jonghoon and Lee Sangu has won ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles title; Chiang Hung-Chieh has enjoyed success with Huang Sheng-Sheng, whilst Park Ganghyeon was the runner up in partnership with Kim Minhyeok last year in the Czech Republic.
The odd one out is Chen Chien-An; despite winning the Men’s Doubles title in partnership with Chuang Chih-Yuan at the Liebherr 2013 World Championships in Paris, the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australia Open is the first time he has ever appeared in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles final.