by Ian Marshall, Editor
Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, China’s Fan Zhendong and India’s Manika Batra emerged the names to catch the eye
Europe Top 16 title for Bernadette Szocs
Staged on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February, Bernadette Szocs secured the Women’s title at the Europe Top 16 tournament. She commenced play listed at no.14 on the European Women’s World Rankings, the no.10 seed in Montreux; she was an outsider for honours. She beat Li Jie of the Netherlands, the defending champion and top seed to clinch gold.
China succeeds in London
Favourites for the top prize, China won both the Men’s and Women’s titles at the ITTF Team World Cup staged from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th February at the Copper Box Arena located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. It was the seventh consecutive occasion since the tournament was re-introduced to the international calendar in 2007 that both titles had finished in Chinese hands.
Fan Zhendong, World No.1
Fan Zhendong won the Men’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha on Sunday 11th March. It meant that for the first time in his career, when the World Rankings were announced in April, his name stood at the top of list. The win was very much the culmination of four quite outstanding months; he had concluded 2017 by succeeding in Astana at the Grand Finals; in late January he had maintained that form emerging successful in Budapest.
Indian sensation in Gold Coast
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, India’s Manika Batra, Madhurika Patka and Mouma Das beat Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Zhou Yihan in the final of the Women’s Team event. It was the first since table tennis was staged at the multi-sport gathering in 2002 in Manchester that Singapore had not won the title. Later Manika Batra, one after another beat Zhou Yihan, Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu to secure the Women’s Singles title!