04 Nov 2019

After four months away from the summit, China’s Fan Zhendong recovers his no.1 position on the men’s world rankings issued for November, in one of the biggest shake ups in the listings.

Who were the others to rise and fall?

by Kabir Nagpal

At the end of a month of upsets and shock wins galore, Chen Meng retains her top spot on the women’s rankings but most noticeably, amongst other major changes, compatriot Liu Shiwen, who celebrated her fifth Women’s World Cup victory, becomes the world no.2.

Fan causes a small ripple across the men’s ranking

Fan Zhendong’s return to top is certainly the biggest story of the day. The Chinese was usurped by his compatriot Xu Xin in the July rankings, after a string of impressive results since April’s Liebherr World Championships in Budapest.

However, Fan’s persistence on ITTF World Tour events eventually saw his secure the German Open crown last month, granting him the push to reach 16,250 points (previously 15,200 points) as opposed to Xu’s total of 16,160 points (previously 15,980 points).

Fan Zhendong, back to winning ways (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

In the men’s top five, there was to be just another switch in rankings between Lin Gaoyuan (14,975 points) and Ma Long (14,955 points). They are now no.3 and no.4 respectively. With the top four positions for China, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto has kept his no.5 ranking, followed by Brazil’s Hugo Calderano to seal an unchanged top 10 rankings in the November release.

Liu shakes up the women’s ranking

In the month of October, it was anything but “as we were” in the women’s singles, despite Chen Meng entering another successive month as world no.1 (16,965 points).

The World-champion-turned-World-Cup-winner Liu Shiwen made a seismic jump from no.5 to no.2 as her points tally was up by 1290 points (15,360 points).

Following in her stead was 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships winner Sun Yingsha, who moved from no.6 to world no.3 with 14,895 points on the board; this shake-up hit China’s Ding Ning the hardest. She fell to the spot previously occupied by Sun, her 13,910 points could not make her break into the top five.

Causing waves at a young age, Sun Yingsha (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Zhu Yuling (no.4 – 14,330 points) and Wang Manyu (no.5 – 14,210 points) helped China keep the top six positions, with the Japanese duo, Mima Ito and Kasumi Ishikawa sitting in seventh and eighth places respectively, after a slightly underwhelming Women’s World Cup.

The final major mover was Singapore’s Feng Tianwei (11,660 points). She broke into the top 10 ahead of Miu Hirano and rose three places to world no.9 after reaching the semi-finals of both the ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open and the Women’s World Cup.

Most improved players

On the overall scale of world rankings, there were plenty of improvements seen in the space of 30 days. China’s young Zhou Qihao broke into the men’s top 50 with a mammoth 34 rank rise from his previous no.71. He is now at a personal all-time high of world no.37. The progress was matched by his prodigious compatriot, Wang Chuqin who is now world no.15, rising seven spots after consistently shocking his seniors in the top 50.

For the women, there was none better at stealing the limelight than USA’s Lily Zhang. After winning the Pan American Championships, she completely changed the face of the Women’s World Cup by beating Miu Hirano in an all-time classic, meaning her world ranking went through the roof – a 15 rank jump to no.33. China’s 2019 Hong Kong Open winner Wang Yidi was equally as impressive in her 14 rank rise to no.23.

A historic competiton for Lily Zhang and the United States (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

As for up to the top 200, there were some significant movers for both the men and women’s rankings. Sweden’s Anton Källberg moved 18 spots to reach no.70, Japan’s Takuya Jin is within two of the top 50 after his 22 spot rise from previous no.74.

China’s Qian Tianyi jumped into the women’s top 100 after she climbed 78 spots into no.71 – clearly a sign of things to come for the talented athlete. However, the biggest riser in the top 200 remained one Liu Fei who rose a gargantuan 125 places to make the no.102 spot her very own.

Biggest drop

Conversely, where there are risers, there will be those who fall. Underwhelming performances over the past month, we saw a fair amount of downward movement for some athletes across the table. Li Jie of the Netherlands dropped 14 places in the top 50, no.55 as her new ranking. Also, her European compatriot from Romania, Elizabeta Samara also fell six spots to no.28.

Despite having shown immense promise over the past year, Korea Republic’s Shin Yubin was unable to prevent her drop to no.96, falling 16 places in the top 100 rankings. Finally, Australia’s veteran Jian Fang Lay suffered an exit from the top 100. She has moved 37 spots to no.107.

A tough month for Brazil’s Vitor Ishiy (Photo: Rémy Gros)

 

Over in the men’s section, Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun fell out of the top 50 with a 17 place loss to no.62. There were significantly smaller movements in the downward direction for France’s Simon Gauzy (no.22) and Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu (no.18) as they each lost two spots.

There was also collective bad news for Brazilian teammates Vitor Ishiy (no.77) and  Eric Jouti (no.85), both of whom fell 10 spots or more in the recent rankings. The largest drop however, was for Lithuanian Tomas Mikutis who fell out of the top 200 with a 35 rank fall to no.234.

To view the complete rankings of November, click here.

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World Ranking In Depth Fan Zhendong xu xin liu shiwen Lily Zhang