by Ian Marshall, Editor
Progress for Kasumi Ishikawa but following proceedings in the Czech Republic, the Japanese player to stake a claim for a place in the prestigious end of year gathering is Saki Shibata.
In Olomouc, she beat colleague Miu Hirano at the quarter-final stage, before losing to Kasumi Ishikawa in the semi-finals. She climbs from no.15 to no.11 (429 points). Miu Hirano continued in 14th spot (409 points); not enjoying the best of fortunes in Olomouc, compatriots Mima Ito and Hitomi Sato are still very much in line for a Grand Finals invitations. Mima Ito, who was beaten in a sensational Women’s Singles quarter-final by China’s Wen Jia, remains in fifth place (827 points); Hitomi Sato retains ninth position (445 points).
Notably, Wen Jia, who lost to Kasumi Ishikawa in the Olomouc final, climbs from no.38 to no.22 (191 points) but as yet, has only appeared in three ITTF World Tour tournaments. If she is to qualify for the Grand Finals she must not only play in the two remaining tournaments in Sweden and Austria, she must excel in those events.
It is a somewhat similar situation for colleague, Wang Yidi, the player beaten by compatriot Ding Ning in the Bulgarian final but who departed proceedings in the opening round in the Czech Republic; she lost to Poland’s Li Qian. She retains 19th spot (249 points); she must make at least one more appearance.
Wen Jia and Wang Yidi are very much on the fringe; team mates Zhu Yuling, Chen Meng and He Zhuojia are very much in the mix but each has only competed three times this year and if they are to qualify for the Grand Finals, they must play in both Sweden and Austria.
Presently, Zhu Yuling is in sixth place (575 points), Chen Meng two positions lower in eighth spot (431 points); He Zhuojia occupies 17th place (279 points).
Meanwhile, on the Women’s Doubles Standings, China’s Liu Gaoyang and Zhang Rui, the winners in Olomouc climb from 16th to fifth place (300 points) but have only competed as a pair in two tournaments. In order to meet the mandatory four appearances, they must compete as a pair in both Sweden and Austria.
Japan’s Hina Hayata and Mima Ito (750 points) continue to lead the Women’s Doubles Standings ahead of China’s Chen Xingtong and Sun Yingsha (588 points); Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (551 points), retain third place.
Overall 16 players qualify for the Men’s Singles event at the Grand Finals, for the Men’s Doubles it is eight pairs.
Seamaster ITTF World Tour: Latest Standings (Monday 27th August)