by Simon Daish
There’s only one place to start and that’s with Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen: top seeds in Busan, the Chinese pair have firmly established themselves at the very top of the mixed doubles scene.
So far in 2019 Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen have taken home gold at the ITTF World Tour events in Budapest and Doha as well as the mixed doubles title at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships. A formidable team – can anyone prevent the Chinese stars from lifting another trophy at the upcoming Korea Open?
Posing a major threat to the newly crowned World champions is the pair that previously held that title: Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa.
Unable to successfully defend their World Championships title in Budapest, Yoshimura and Ishikawa will be determined to fight their way back to the top especially with mixed doubles joining the programme at next year’s Olympic Games.
Another pair that will be keen to impress is Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem. Seeded second for the event but the Seamaster 2018 World Tour Grand Finals champions are still searching for their first silverware of 2019 – could their luck be about to change in Busan?
Then there’s the emerging Chinese Taipei partnership of Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching who are chasing their fourth mixed doubles crown of the year: winners at the ITTF Challenge Series event in Oman, Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching have also collected two ITTF World Tour golds with successful outings at the Seamaster 2019 China Open and Seamaster 2019 Hong Kong Open.
Also keep an eye out for 2019 World Championships bronze medallists Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja. The German duo recently secured their ticket to Tokyo 2020 with mixed doubles gold at the 2019 European Games.