by Ian Marshall, Editor
One player in particular for whom there could be a veritable beam of sunshine is the host nation’s Timo Boll.
Currently on the ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles Standings, he is listed at no.15 (244 points), just above the cut off mark; playing in Bremen he will complete the five minimum appearance criteria. Also he is named on the entry list for the ITTF World Tour Platinum Austrian Open in November, the concluding tournament on this year’s calendar, a quarter-final finish on home soil, as his status predicts, will do his cause no harm whatsoever.
He is the no.6 seed. China’s Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan occupy the top three positions ahead of Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Brazil’s Hugo Calderano; Liang Jingkun also from China and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju complete the top eight names.
However, they are not the players who necessarily stand in the way of Timo Boll adding to his points standings total; the likes of China’s Fang Bo, Zhao Zihao, Zhao Qihao and Sun Wen plus a certain Wang Chuqin are potential opening round opponents. All must compete in the qualification tournament, two or three matches under their belt, for anyone they are dangerous first round adversaries, none more so that Wang Chuqin, the recent winner in Stockholm.
Turn back the clock
One goal for Timo Boll is to meet his seeded position, another is to go beyond and turn the clock back ten years. In 2009, appropriately in Bremen, he won the fourth of his men’s singles titles at an ITTF World Tour tournament in Germany. Earlier he had succeeded in 2004 in Leipzig, 2006 in Bayreuth, 2008 in Berlin.
Four titles for Timo Boll, it is three for compatriot Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the no.10 seed behind Japan’s Koki Niwa; a last eight finish at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open and he will cement his place in the Grand Finals. Following his efforts in Sweden, on the standings, he is now listed at no.10 (387 points).
Notably, he won in Magdeburg in both 2014 and 2017, previously in 2012 beating a certain Timo Boll in the final, the city, Bremen!
A good omen; at least it could be this year for one of them!