by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Notably both were competing in their seventh ITTF World Tour tournament of the year and have thus met the basic criteria of five appearances in order to be amongst the 16 names invited to compete in the relevant Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events at the Grand Finals.
Equally, for the respective runners up in Olomouc, an invitation to Astana can be anticipated. Germany’s Timo Boll advances from no.5 to no.3 (700 points), Kasumi Ishikawa remains secure at no.4 (675 points).
Similar to Tomokazu Harimoto and Mima Ito, Olomouc was the seventh ITTF World Tour appearance this year for Kasumi Ishikawa. However, for Timo Boll it was only his fourth; three tournaments remain – Austria, Germany, Sweden – his name does not appear the entry list for Austria in September but surely we can expect to see him on home soil in Magdeburg in November?
China’s Ma Long continues in top spot on the Men’s Singles Standings (1,050 points) with colleague Fan Zhendong now one place lower in fourth spot (650 points); each has only competed in three 2017 ITTF World Tour tournaments to date. Pertinently, their names do not appear on the entry list for Austria.
However, the next in line are all in realistic terms Astana bound, all have met the basic five appearance criteria. Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus is at no.6 (589 points) being one place behind Tomokazu Harimoto; he is pursued by the latter’s colleagues Koki Niwa (404 points) and Kenta Matsudaira (395 points) with Frenchman Simon Gauzy now in ninth spot (365 points).
Meanwhile, on the Women’s Singles Standings, Chen Meng, who has made five appearances this year maintains her commanding lead (1,531 points), being ahead of colleagues Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, who share second place (800 points). Sun Yingsha has only made two appearances this year, for Wang Manyu, it is three in number. Pertinently all three appear on the entry list for the forthcoming Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Austrian Open.
An invitation to Astana in doubt for Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu but assured for Chen Meng; also Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and Japan’s Sakura Mori are likely visitors to Kazakhstan in December. Currently Feng Tianwei is named at no.6 (525 points) on the Women’s Singles Standings, Sakura Mori at no.8 (413 points).
Astana bound for the gold and silver medallists in the Olomouc Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events; it is the same for the counterpart Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles pairs.
Winners of the Men’s Doubles event, Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth, playing in their third ITTF World Tour tournament of the year as a pairing, climb from no.14 to no.3 (319 points). Notably, their names appear on the entry list for Austria and thus by competing in Linz they will meet the minimum for appearance criteria.
Two steps ahead, beaten finalists in Olomouc, Japan’s Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura (675 points) now head the Men’s Doubles Standings; they replace colleagues, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima (588 points) at the top of the list. Both Japanese pairs have made four appearances this year and thus have met the basic criteria to be among the eight pairs invited to Astana.
New Men’s Doubles leaders, it is the same in the Women’s Doubles listings. Likewise the runners up in Olomouc, Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota advance two places to head the list (519 points). Likewise, their nemesis in the Czech Republic, Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito make significant progress; they climb four places to no.8 (413 points).
China’s Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling drop one place and now appear in third spot (450 points) but have to date made only two appearances; Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun also fall one position. They are at no.3 (425 points) and have competed in as pairing in four ITTF World Tour tournaments this year.
They are Astana bound.