by Ian Marshall, Editor
Now if it is a team competition based on the Olympic Games principle, then for Xu Xin, also being left handed, Lin Gaoyuan is the ideal reserve, for Ma Long or Fan Zhendong is it Liang Jingkun?
Notably at the recent Liebherr 2019 World Championships each acquitted themselves well, eventually each losing to colleague Ma Long; now back from injury, judging by his performance at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour China Open he is playing better than ever! The feather in the cap for Liang Jingkun was that he beat Fan Zhendong.
Additionally last December at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, in the opening round, Liang Jingkun accounted for Germany’s Timo Boll; those are fine wins. In Hong Kong, Timo Boll is the no.4 seed, one place behind Liang Jingkun with Lin Gaoyuan being the top seed followed by Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto.
Furthermore, Liang Jingkun won the men’s singles title at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open, notably beating Lin Gaoyuan in the final; however, at ITTF World Tour tournaments in Hungary and Qatar he departed in the second round, on both occasions when facing most worthy opponents. Notably in Hungary he lost to Tomokazu Harimoto, in Qatar to colleague, Xu Xin. More recently in Shenzhen it was a quarter-final exit when facing Lin Gaoyuan.
None could be considered surprise defeats but consider the efforts of Lin Gaoyuan; other than at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, on every international appearance, Lin Gaoyuan has reached the final. Now whatever the pedigree of the player, that is no mean achievement.
Additional to his runners up spot in Portugal, on the Seamaster ITTF World Tour in December he was beaten in the title deciding contest by Tomokazu Harimoto; in January he won in Hungary beating compatriot Wang Chuqin in the final, in both Qatar and China, he finished in runners up spot, losing to Ma Long.
So you have to select one or the other? Who do you choose? Will the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open help your decision? Conversely will it confuse you even more?