Each of the three divisions differs in strength, and this is reflected in the points earned per win. The points are cumulative, meaning they stack up based on the total wins. Qualifying to the main draw is also a factor with decreased points on offer for matches not in the running for a division title.
- Championship Division Main Draw and Group Stage – 250 points
- Championship Division Position Matches – 180 points
- 2nd Division Main Draw and Group Stage – 125 points
- 2nd Division Position Matches – 90 points
- 3rd Division Main Draw and Group Stage – 85 points
- 3rd Division Position Matches – 70 points
The current men’s WR#1 is Fan Zhendong from China. At the last Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Fan won five matches at 250 points each, earning him 1250 points. Currently this is outside his top 8 results, and to put his Halmstad result in there he must win seven matches at 250 point apiece, this will knock down his 8thbest result, 1620 points from last year’s Swedish Open where he was runner-up.
Timo Boll is in the same situation, needing seven wins to move upwards. However, catching Fan Zhendong will prove unlikely as the gap between them is currently 840 points and requires Boll to win ten matches to perform the feat. Dimitrij Ovtcharov has a better chance to rise in the rankings. Sitting at WR#3, Ovtcharov has 900 points from the World Team Cup in his 8thresult slot. Five wins will bump him above Timo Boll if Boll doesn’t move up himself. Eight wins will put Dima back in the number one position, provided Fan Zhendong stays on his current points.
In the women’s ranking list the spotlight will be on Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning, they won five and six matches respectively in 2016. Points earned in Kuala Lumpur will be replaced in Halmstad, and if they want to move higher in the rankings, they must win more matches than before. This month’s WR#1 and #2 Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling are not likely to see changes to their positions in the immediate future.
With so many points available and lasting for two years, let’s not forget the other side of the coin. In 2016 Singapore’s Feng Tianwei won eleven matches in the Championship Division, earning herself 2750 points, this is presently Feng Tianwei’s best result and helped her attain WR#4 where she stands now. Like many other players the pressure will be on to equal her previous performance and avoid suffering a fall in the rankings. This is pertinent for players representing countries making the jump from Second Division to Championship Division. Every match is that much harder at the top!
For those on debut at the World Team Championships there is less at stake with no points expiring. Tomokazu Harimoto was not yet a teenager when the team championships were held last, he is making his first appearance in the team, having been in Dusseldorf in 2017 for the singles. Can he make such a tremendous impact for Japan as he did last year?