by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Notably in 2013 Fan Zhendong won the Men’s Singles title at the German Open when staged in Berlin; significantly, he beat the host nation’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the final.
In Bremen, Dimitrij Ovtcharov is the top seed, colleague Timo Boll is next on the list; they are the two players who so far this year have headed the Men’s World Rankings. Dimitrij Ovtcharov when the list was released in January, more recently in March the position has been usurped by Timo Boll.
Now when Fan Zhendong won in Doha, his chances of being at the head of the list when the April Men’s World Rankings were announced were greatly enhanced but as to whether that became reality depended on performances at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour German Open.
Absent, matters are now in the melting pot and could one man in particular have an effect on the outcome?
China’s Xu Xin and Japan’s Koki Niwa are next in line to Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll in the Bremen Men’s Singles order of merit; at the quarter-final stage it is not beyond the realms of possibility that one member of the quartet could face a certain Ma Long, the Olympic and World champion.
The plot thickens.