by Ian Marshall, Editor
Required to qualify, eventual runners up spot meant that on the men’s singles standings, Zhao Zihao climbed from the no.21 spot (189 points) to no.13 (489 points); likewise in the women’s singles order of merit, Qian Tianyi advanced from no.24 (164 points) to claim the very last position no.16 (364 points).
Similarly, on the men’s singles standings there was major progress for Germany’s Timo Boll, he started play in the no.15 spot (344 points), a semi-final finish meant he ended the year at no.10 (544 points).
Progress for Timo Boll it was the same for Fan Zhendong, the eventual winner in Linz and the player who had beaten Timo Boll in a dramatic semi-final; he climbed from no.4 (1,007 points) to no.2 (1,507 points).
Colleague Xu Xin concludes matters in top spot (2,044 points), also from China Lin Gaoyuan finishes in third place (1,475 points), ahead of compatriot Ma Long (1,425 points), Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (930 points) and Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju (866 points).
Only 18 years old, Lin Yun-Ju is a fit young man and that may prove vital in Zhengzhou; in addition he has qualified in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events. Partnering Liao Cheng-Ting, the duo ended matters in an effective no.7 spot (308 points) in the men’s doubles listings; in the mixed in harness with Cheng I-Ching in the no.2 spot (857 points).
Silver medallists in Linz, Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu (900 points) end the year in men’s doubles top spot, ahead of the Chinese pairs Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin (775 points), Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (694 points). Next in line is the combination of Timo Boll and colleague Patrick Franziska (563 points), Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting (451 points) follow.
Additionally Xu Xin, partnering compatriot Liu Shiwen appears at no.3 (800 points) in the mixed doubles standings; Wong Chun Ting and teammate Doo Hoi Kem occupy top spot (877 points).
Now could Wong Chun Ting also compete in three events? In the men’s singles he finished in 17th place (363 points), just one below the borderline but with China’s Wang Chuqin, who ended the year in the no.7 spot (819 points) now suspended until mid-February, it would appear a distinct possibility that Wong Chun Ting will appear in the Finals.
Strength in depth
All three events, it does not apply to their female counterparts; arguably one of the reasons being the immense depth of riches enjoyed by China. In the women’s singles standings, they field ten names; also four are from Japan which just leaves Singapore’s Feng Tianwei at no.12 (504 points) and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching at no.14 (395 points).
Sun Yingsha finishes at the head of the list (1,882 points) followed by Mima Ito (1,685 points) who flies the flag for Japan. Sun Yingsha is pursued immediately by colleagues Chen Meng (1,600 points), Wang Manyu (1,182 points), Chen Xingtong (880 points), Liu Shiwen (835 points) and Ding Ning (806 points).
Moreover, Wang Yidi (799 points) and Zhu Yuling (714 points) are next in the order. Japan’s Miu Hirano (636 points) completes the top ten names. Note eight of top ten are from China, quite awesome.
Japanese teenagers head list
However, on the women’s doubles standings it is slightly different. The winners in Linz, Japanese teenagers Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki finish in the no.1 spot (739 points), next on the list is the Korea Republic combination of Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun (525 points).
They are followed by the only Chinese pair on duty, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu (513 points).
Now, could they be the favourites? Slight chance, they are the reigning world champions!
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals
Qualifiers: 1. Xu Xin (CHN) 2. Fan Zhendong (CHN) 3. Lin Gaoyuan (CHN) 4. Ma Long (CHN) 5. Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN) 6. Lin Yun-Ju (TPE) 7. Wang Chuqin (CHN) 8. Liang Jingkun (CHN) 9. Hugo Calderano (BRA) 10. Tim Boll (GER) 11. Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) 12. Patrick Franziska (GER) 13. Zhao Zihao (CHN) 14. Mattias Falck (SWE) 15. Jeoung Youngsik (KOR) 16. Jun Mizutani (JPN)
Reserves: 17. Wong Chun Ting (HKG) 18. Koki Niwa (JPN) 19. Jang Woojin (KOR)
Qualifiers: 1. Sun Yingsha (CHN) 2. Mima Ito (JPN) 3. Chen Meng (CHN) 4. Wang Manyu (CHN) 5. Chen Xingtong (CHN) 6. Liu Shiwen (CHN) 7. Ding Ning (CHN) 8. Wang Yidi (CHN) 9. Zhu Yuling (CHN) 10. Miu Hirano (JPN) 11. Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN) 12. Feng Tianwei (SGP) 13. He Zhuojia (CHN) 14. Cheng I-Ching (TPE) 15. Hitomi Sato (JPN) 16. Qian Tianyi (CHN)
Reserves: 17. Jeon Jihee (KOR) 18. Gu Yuting (CHN) 19. Doo Hoi Kem (HKG)
Qualifiers: 1. Jeung Youngsik / Lee Sangsu (KOR) 2. Fan Zhendong / Xu Xin (CHN) 3. Liang Jingkun / Lin Gaoyuan (CHN) 4. Timo Boll / Patrick Franziska (GER) 5. Ho Kwan Kit / Wong Chun Ting (HKG) 6. Benedikt Duda / Qiu Dang (GER) 7. Liao Cheng-Ting / Lin Yun-Ju (TPE) 8. Chen Chien-An / Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE)
Reserves: 9. Jang Woojin / Lim Jonghoon (KOR) 10. Jakub Dyjas / Cédric Nuytinck (POL/BEL) 11. Masataka Morizono / Maharu Yoshimura (JPN)
Qualifiers: 1. Miyuu Kihara / Miyu Nagasaki (JPN) 2. Jeon Jihee / Yang Haeun (KOR) 3. Sun Yingsha / Wang Manyu (CHN) 4. Chen Szu-Yu / Cheng Hsien-Tzu (TPE) 5. Miu Hirano / Saki Shibata (JPN) 6. Barbora Balazova / Hana Matelova (SVK/CZE) 7. Doo Hoi Kem / Lee Ho Ching (HKG) 8. Ng Wing Nam / Minnie Soo Wai Yam (HKG)
Reserves: 9. Lin Ye / Yu Mengyu (SGP) 10. Natalia Bajor / Natalia Partyka (POL) 11.Manika Batra / Archana Girish Kamath (IND)
Qualifiers: 1. Wong Chun Ting / Doo Hoi Kem (HKG) 2. Lin Yun-Ju / Cheng I-Ching (TPE) 3. Xu Xin / Liu Shiwen (CHN) 4. Jun Mizutani / Mima Ito (JPN) 5. Cho Daeseong / Shin Yubin (KOR) 6. Lubomir Pistej / Barbora Balazova (SVK) 7. Tristan Flore / Laura Gasnier (FRA) 8. Adam Szudi / Szandra Pergel (HUN)
Reserves: 9. Stefan Fegerl / Sofia Polcanova (AUT) 10. Ovidiu Ionescu / Bernadette Szocs (ROU) 11. Patrick Franziska / Petrissa Solja (GER)
2019 ITTF World Tour: Complete end of year standings