06 Sep 2017

Three years ago when the Men’s World Rankings were issued for September 2014, a new name appeared at no.836; when the most recent list was published on Tuesday 5th September, that name appears in the no.13 spot.

The rise of the now 14 year old Tomokazu Harimoto is quite staggering; in the intervening years, months and weeks, he has broken record after record when the youngest ever is in question; most certainly with his new status he has set another such record when age is the criteria.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

He climbs five places, principally as a result of winning the Men’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Czech Open in Olomouc; in so doing he passes his previous best of no.18, two months ago in July.

Amongst the elite names, Tomokazu Haromoto makes the most significant rise but not far behind is his colleague, Kenta Matsudaira, the runner up at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open. He moves from no.16 to no.12 and thus enjoys the highest status of his career; his prior best was no.15 in December 2013 and earlier this year in July.

Progress for Tomokazu Haromoto and for a somewhat rejuvenated Kenta Matsudaira; for the very top names there is no change. China’s Ma Long remains in top spot, followed by colleagues Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin with Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov once again in fourth place ahead of Zhang Jike, also from China.

Next in line is Timo Boll, like Dimitrij Ovtcharov from Germany. He advances one position to no.7, being pursued immediately by Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting who also progresses one step; the players to make way are Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Korea’s Lee Sangsu. Both drop two positions, Jun Mizutani is now at no.8, Lee Sangsu at no.14.

One place below Jun Mizutani, colleague Koki Niwa retains his no.9 status as do the next in the pecking order Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus and China’s Fang Bo.

Notably for Ma Long, it is the 31st monthly publication of the Men’s World Rankings in succession, when his name has stood at the top of the list; overall it is the 61st time. The current run started in March 2015; he first assumed first place in January 2010.

Disappointment for Jun Mizutani but amongst the top 100 names, Japan is very much in the ascendancy. Additional to Kenta Matsudaira and Tomokazu Harimoto, colleagues Jin Ueda, Kenta Tazoe, Yuto Kizukuri and Asuka Machi alongside Mizuki Oikawa and Kenji Matsudaira all make major progress.

Jin Ueda moves from a one month earlier career best of no.43 to a new high of no.28, a similar situation applies to Kenta Tazoe who advances from no.102 to no.75 and Yuto Kizukuri who climbs from no.93 to no.79. The previous best for Kenta Tazoe was no.101 earlier this year in July; for Yuto Kizukuri, in addition to last month, he was also at no.93 in July.

New heights, for Asuka Machi, Mizuki Oikawa and Kenji Matsudaira, it is a step nearer previous highs. Asuka Machi moves from no.93 to no.80, Mizuki Oikawa from no.110 to no.88 and Kenji Matsudaira from no.118 to no.92. The prior best for Asuka Machi was no.73 in January 2015; for Mizuka Oikawa, no.87 in November 2016, whilst in May 2012, Kenta Matsudaira was as high as no.34.

Major progress for Japan; it is very much the same for France. Emmanuel Lebesson advances from his prior best of no.26 which he also held in July, to no.20; Tristan Flore progresses from no.55 to no.44, his previous highest was no.50 three months ago in June.

Higher listings for Japan and France; it is the same for DPR Korea. Pak Sin Hyok moves from no.83 to no.66 and advances towards a career best of no.74 achieved in April 2016.

Meanwhile, needless to say, the name of Tomokazu Harimoto appears prominently on the age group listings where he maintains his August status.

On the Under 21 Men’s World Rankings he is at no.2 behind Fan Zhendong with Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Yuto Muramatsu, also from Japan, changing places and being next names on the list.

Consequently, on both the Under 18 Boys’ and Under 15 Boys’ World Rankings, it is top spot for Tomokazu Harimoto. On the latter, once again he remains ahead of China’s Niu Guankai and Korea’s Cho Daeseong; on the former, as in August, Yuto Kizukuri and Niu Guankai are next on the list.

However, note the name in fourth spot on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Jun advances five places. Impressive but even more impressive is his climb up the Men’s World Rankings, the 16 year old progresses from no.208 to no.103!

Tomokazu Harimoto may be the headline writer but note the name of Lin Yun-Ju.

World Rankings: Tuesday 5th September

World Ranking Tomokazu Harimoto