by Ian Marshall, Editor
Most pertinently, generations apart, now 38 years old Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan and China’s 20 year old He Zhoujia take to the stage; both players who have made major impacts on the international scene.
At the 2002 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Chuang Chih-Yuan won the men’s singles title; last year in the counterpart women’s singles event, He Zhuojia was the runner up.
Equally, bronze medallist earlier this year at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, the host nation’s An Jaehyun must earn his spurs; moreover in the second preliminary round he faces one of Europe’s rising stars. He confronts Anders Lind, crucial to Denmark’s fourth place at the recent Minsk 2019 2nd European Games. Similarly, Chuang Chih-Yuan opposes a most dangerous adversary in the guise of India’s Harmeet Desai.
Testing times but I would suggest for illustrious names there are even more exacting challenges, Japan’s Maharu Yoshimura confronts China’s Sun Wen, semi-finalist last month in Sapporo, Kristian Karlsson also opposes Chinese adversary, he meets Xu Yingbin, a player who has a liking for Sweden; in the previous round he ended the hopes of Truls Moregard.
Meanwhile, in the second preliminary round of the women’s singles event, He Zhuojia plays Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Ying-Chen, a contest in which she is the clear favourite.
However, there are contests that are very much in the balance; the experience of Germany’s 36 year old Shan Xiaona against 17 years of age Miyu Nagasaki is intriguing, as in Hong Kong’s Minnie Soo Wai Yam against China’s Liu Weishan and the host nation’s Choi Hyojoo in opposition to Qian Tianyi, also from China.
Enthralling but top of the list, my vote goes to the player Qian Tianyi beat in the final of the World Junior Championships last year in Bendigo; colleague Shi Xunyao. She meets Japan’s Hina Hayata, the winner of three women’s singles titles on this year’s Seamaster ITTF Challenge Series.
Undoubtedly a captivating day awaits in Busan.