by Wade Townsend
Dimitrij Ovtcharov isn’t just entering the ITTF World Tour Finals looking for some extra silverware. The No.1 World Ranking is at stake and the German star needs just a single win to guaranteed his place as the world’s best player come January 2018.
And his opponent in the first round? Japan’s Koki Niwa.
Ovtcharov has had an almost perfect year, picking up two Platinum Tour events and a handful of World Tour titles. The only blemish on his recorded is an unexpected loss in the last 16 at the World Championships in Düsseldorf. As fate would have it, the loss was at the hands of none other than Niwa.
In Düsseldorf the Japanese table tennis wizard broke the hearts of the German fans, taking down the hometown favourite 11-9 in seventh game. You couldn’t have asked for closer match, and it looks likes table tennis fans are going to get a second helping of the action.
Düsseldorf is the only occasion that Niwa has got the better of Ovtcharov in their four encounters. But the recent loss will definitely be on Dima’s mind and he will be out for revenge in their Astana rematch.
Check out the full draw for the Men’s Singles Event below.