by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
On the Men’s Singles Standings, for Tomokazu Harimoto (425 points), only the cream of China is ahead. Fan Zhendong occupies top spot (1,050 points) ahead of Ma Long (1,031 points) and Xu Xin (525 points).
Immediately pursuing Tomokazu Harimoto is Brazil’s Hugo Calderano (413 points), followed by Lin Gaoyuan also from China (400 points).
Now, note the next on the list, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (374 points) and Germany’s Patrick Franziska (297 points) followed by the Korean Republic duo of Lim Jonghoon (296 points) and Lee Sangsu (294 points). We are at the halfway point on the calendar, six tournaments completed, six to go and already the members of that quartet have met the minimum five appearance criteria in order to qualify for the Grand Finals.
The competition is intense and one of the reasons is no doubt the new world ranking system based on the finishing position in a tournament as opposed to the former head to head system.
On the Women’s Singles Standings, the influence is surely even more evident; of the top seven names, only China’s Liu Shiwen in third spot (594 points) has not already completed the mandatory five appearances but she is over the half way mark. Like her male colleagues who occupy the top three places, she has been present on three occasions.
Successful in Hungary, Hong Kong and China, Wang Manyu has a sizeable lead (1,425 points); the rapidly rising Chinese star is one place ahead of Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa (839 points). Also from Japan, Mima Ito is at no.4 (588 points) followed by China’s Chen Xingtong (401 points), Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon (397 points) and Sun Yingsha, also from China (366 points).
Meanwhile on the Men’s Doubles order of merit Korea’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu lead (507 points), ahead of China’s Ma Long and Xu Xin (375 points). On the counterpart Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles Standings, the name of Chen Xingtong stands out. On the former she occupies top spot with Sun Yingsha (588 points); colleagues Chen Ke and Wang Manyu being the immediate pursuers. On the latter her name appears in both top two places. She is in first place in partnership with Lin Gaoyuan (300 points) and in second place with Liang Jingkun (200 points).
However, it is to the Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events that my eyes focus, it seems that the new World Ranking scheme complements the World Tour; has the competition ever been so tense, has the participation level ever been so high?
Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour: Latest Standings after Lion Japan Open