by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Listed at no.311 on the current Men’s World Rankings and with Fan Zhendong allocated the duty of being the coach sitting courtside, Liu Dingshuo, crowned World Junior champion in La Roche sur Yon in 2015, responded.
He accounted for Italy’s Leonardo Mutti, ranked no.275 (11-9, 11-4, 12-10, 11-5) before ending the hopes of Germany’s Benedikt Duda, at no.46, the fifth highest rated player in the qualification tournament.
Similarly, ranked no.391, Wang Chuqin accounted for Denmark’s Tobias Rasmussen (11-7, 11-5, 14-12, 11-6) prior to overcoming Hungary’s Hunor Szocs (8-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, 11-5). Presently Tobias Rasmussen is named at no.224 in the global order; Hunor Szocs is listed at no.66.
Impressive from Liu Dingshuo and Wang Chuqin, it was just the same from Xu Chenhao, a player with no current global status but in 2013 the runner up on the ITTF World Tour in Japan, when beaten by the host nation’s Masato Shiono in the final. He gained a walk-over against Slovenia’s Deni Kozul prior to securing top place in the group courtesy of success in opposition to Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali, ranked no.117 (11-9, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3).
Arguably considering the traditions of the nation they represented, the outcome was not a great surprise; for Aliaksandr Khanin it was more unexpected. Presently standing at no.135 on the Men’s World Rankings, he upset the odds by beating Belarus colleague Pavel Platonov, named at no.126 in the global order (11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-5), before overcoming Hungary’s Patrik Juhasz to seal top place (9-11, 11-5, 11-4. 11-7, 11-8). Currently, Patrik Juhasz has no world ranking.
Play in the qualification tournament concludes on Wednesday 17th January.