by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The key factor for both Dimitrij Ovtcharov (1,550 points) and Timo Boll (1,000 points) is that Magdeburg was their fifth appearance in this year’s Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour; thus they have met the minimum criteria to compete in the prestigious end of year event.
However, for Ma Long in second place (1,050 points), having only made three appearances, he will not qualify to for Astana. It is the same situation for Yan An, also from China in ninth place (600 points) and for Japan’s Jun Mizutani in 16th spot (350 points). Only three appearances, they both fall short.
All the remaining leading names, once the current Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open is completed will have met the five appearance mark.
However, it must be taken into consideration that one place will be allocated to Kirill Gerassimenko as the host nation representative; thus in reality there are 15 places available.
China’s Fan Zhendong in (850 points), Lin Gaoyuan (713 points) and Xu Xin (400 points) all look set for a December visit to Kazakhstan. Equally Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (625 points), Kenta Matsudaira (597 points) and Koki Niwa (529 points) are unquestionably Asatana bound. It is similar for Frenchman Simon Gauzy (615 points) and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (425 points). Always Japan’s Masaki Yoshida (350 points) can prepare. Currently he occupies the 13th qualification position (375 points).
Pertinently, the main contenders for the remaining places are present in Stockholm, Japan’s Yuya Oshima (339 points) and Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (324 points) are the favourites. Theoretically, qualification is possible for other names like England’s Paul Drinkhall (264 points), Portugal’s Marcos Freitas (256 points) and Germany’s Ruwen Filus (236 points) but it would be a monumental effort.
Meanwhile, on the Women’s Singles Standings the only elite names that cannot possibly qualify for Astana are China’s Sun Yingsha (1,000 points) and Ding Ning (500 points); to date Sun Yingsha has made three appearances; Stockholm will be only the second for Ding Ning. All the others will have met the five appearance criteria once matters in Stockholm have concluded.
China’s Cheng Meng, the winner in Magdeburg, leads the field (2,131 points), she is assured of an Astana invitation alongside colleagues Wang Manyu (1,400 points), Gu Yuting (725 points), Zhu Yuling (650 points), Chen Xingtong (475 points).
Likewise Japan’s Kaasumi Ishikawa (900 points), Mima Ito (758 points), Sakura Mori (438 points), Hina Hayata (368 points) and Miu Hirano (363 points) can all expect invitations to Kazakhstan, as can Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (550 points) and Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem (313 points). Also, the door is open for Germany’s Shan Xiaona (391 points) and Han Ying (363 points).
The question is as to who will join fill the next two places; Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching (266 points) alongside the Japanese trio of Hitomi Sato (280 points), Honoka Hashimoto (260 points) and Miyu Kato (237 points) are the players in the running.
Meanwhile, in the Men’s Doubles Standings the Japanese pairs of Jin Ueda and Maharu Yoshimura (675 points) lead the list ahead of colleagues Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima (626). Next in line is the German combination of Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther (357 points).
All have met the minimum four tournament appearance criteria as pairs, as has the combination of Germany’s Jonathan Groth and Denmark’s Jonathan Groth (338 points). They are very much Astana bound, as is another Japanese pairing, comprising Tomokazu Harimoto and Yuto Kizukuri (332 points). Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting (254 points) in addition to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh (239 points) are also undoubtedly visiting Astana in December.
A distinct possibility for the remaining place is the Swedish duo of Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Karlsson (201 points) they are on duty in Stockholm as is the pairing of Singapore’s Gao Ning and Pang Xue Jie (157 points).
Astana beckoning, in the Women’s Doubles event Sweden’s Matilda Ekholm and Hungary’s Georgina Pota lead the qualifiers list (519 points), Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito (413 points) alongside Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato (325 points) are well set, as is the Chinese combination of Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling (488 points).
All will have met the four appearance requisite as a pairing; a situation that applies also to Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (463 points), Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching (382 points).
Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour: Latest Standings after 2016 ITTF World Tour German Open (Sunday 12th November)