by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Currently listed in top spot on the Women’s World Rankings, Chen Meng replaces Chen Xingtong but the player to lead the team in Halmstad is arguably Liu Shiwen.
Earlier this year she won the Women’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha. Notably after beating Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa at the semi-final stage she accounted for Wang Manyu in the final; defeat for Wang Manyu but did her performance in Doha provide evidence the she is worthy of selection for the big match?
At the quarter-final stage she beat colleague Sun Yingsha before ousting Chen Meng in the penultimate round. Furthermore, to add fuel to the fire, in round two Chen Meng had accounted for Ding Ning, the first round winner in opposition Korea’s Suh Hyowon.
Eyes focus on Ding Ning. Whatever the rankings, whatever the recent results, she is the reigning Olympic Games and World Champion; after beating Suh Hyowon in Doha, she said she was at 50 per cent of her best. It was a pretty good 50 per cent.
“I think now I’m playing much better than in Doha; I can’t give a number but I’ll do my best. I’m pleased to be here in Sweden, they have many fine players.” Ding Ning.
Notably it is just over a year ago at the Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships that one after another Japan’s Miu Hirano beat Ding Ning, Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng to arrest the Women’s Singles title.
However, since that date revenge has been extracted.
“We are now familiar with the young Japanese players, we have played them many times now; we will just try our best.” Ding Ning
China starts their quest for honours on the opening day against India who select from Manika Batra, Mouma Das, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabudhe.
Later in the day, they oppose Belarus for whom Marharyta Baltushite, Nadezhda Bogdanova, Viktoria Pavlovich, Alexandra Privalova and Daria Trigolos form the squad.