by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
On Wednesday 3rd January when the first World Ranking list of the new year is published the name at the top of the Men’s list will be that of Dimitrij Ovtcharov, on the counterpart Women’s order of merit it will be Chen Meng.
Pertinently, next in line respectively will be Fan Zhendong and Zhu Yuling; in the tournament that draws the curtain on the old year, the world’s leading players draw swords.
The Women’s Singles final, an event in which Zhu Yuling defends her title, is scheduled to start at 5.00pm (local time) and will be followed immediately by the Men’s Singles gold medal engagement.
Prior to two blue ribbon events, the Women’s Doubles final sets the concluding day of action in motion at 2.00pm (local time).
Adversaries in the Women’s Singles final, Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, the runners up earlier in the year at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF World Championships join forces; the no.2 seeds, at the final hurdle they confront Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the top seeds and a pair against whom they have a debt to settle.
One month ago in the final at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm, they experienced defeat at the final hurdle against the Japanese teenagers.
Immediately, following the Women’s Doubles final, the Men’s Doubles gold medal contest will be staged; a confrontation in which Japan is also in evidence.
Similar to Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling, silver medallist at the Liebherr 2017 ITTF World Championship, Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima, the no.2 seeds, meet Hong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting, the no.3 seeds.
It is the third consecutive appearance in the title decider at the Grand Finals for Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima; in 2015 they won in Lisbon, last year they were the runners up in Doha. It is for Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting there first such appearance.