by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A climb of one place in an order of merit which once again witnesses the Chinese duo of Ma Long and Fan Zhendong in the top two respective positions but also omits two most Chinese notable names; an absence from the international scene in recent months, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike no longer appear on the published order.
Thus immediately below Dimitrij Ovtcharov there is progress; colleague Timo Boll climbs one place and is now in the no.4 spot.
Next in line appear two familiar Japanese names but in different order than in past editions of the global order, Koki Niwa and Jun Mizutani. Koki Niwa climbs from no.8 to no.5, Jun Mizutani from no.7 to no.6. Immediately in pursuit is China’s Lin Gaoyuan, he advances two places but it is the name of Frenchman Simon Gauzy, fourth place at the recent Liebherr 2017 Men’s World Cup, who makes the most significant progress. He advances from no.13 to no.8, being one place ahead of Japan’s Kenta Matsudaira and China’s Fang Bo; each climbs two places.
Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting complete the top 12 names; for Chuang Chih-Yuan it is a climb of four places, for Wong Chun Ting a drop of two positions.
Progress amongst the very elite names, there is also progress down the order.
Quarter-finalist in Liège, Russia’s Alexander Shibaev moves from no.41 to no.23; Japan’s Mizuki Oikawa, the winner of the Under 21 Men’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Polish Open advances from no.91 to no.75.
Similarly there is major progress of India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Frenchman Abdel-Kader Salifou and Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko. All previously outside the top 100 names, all are now within the top 100. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran moves from no.102 to no.87, Abdel-Kader Salifou from no.116 to no.91, Kirill Gerassimenko from no. 126 to no.97.
Meanwhile on the age group listings, Fan Zhendong retains his top spot on the Under 21 Men’s World Rankings as does Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto on both the Under 18 Boys’ and Under 15 Boys’ World Rankings.
Once again Tomokazu Harimoto and Brazil’s Hugo Calderano are next in line to Fan Zhendong; similarly on the Under 15 list, China’s Niu Guankai and Korea’s Cho Daeseong retain the next two respective positions.
However, on the Under 18 Boys’ World Rankings, there is a change. China’s Xue Fei moves from no.6 to no.2; the effect is that Japan’s Yuto Kizukuri drops one place to no.3 with Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Niu Guankai changing positions.
Lin Yun-Ju is now at no.3, Niu Guankai one place lower.