by Kabir Nagpal
After losing the top spot in December, China’s Fan Zhendong returns to the pinnacle of the men’s world ranking as Xu Xin now appears at no.2. For the women, Japan’s Mima Ito has climbed one place to no.3 while Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching dropped from no.8 to no.10.
What about the others outside the top 10?
Newer and higher destinations
Taking a look at the top 50 names on the women’s world rankings, it is again a monumental leap for China’s Qian Tianyi and 2019 Hong Kong Open winner Wang Yidi.
A previous best last month in December, Qian Tianyi is on an upward curve, moving from no.43 to no.30 with her compatriot Wang Yidi climbing to her best ever ranking of no. 13 from no.18. It was a slight but momentous change for Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, who reached her career high ranking of world no. 21. after rising one spot.
For the men, Korea Republic has two major movers as Jeoung Youngsik and An Jaehyun both climb, while China’s Zhao Zihao and Wang Chuqin achieved their career high listings. After having set some high standards in November and December, Zhao Zihao climbs from no.29 to no.24, as Wang Chuqin advances from no.15 to no.12.
An Jaehyun is slowly rising into the top side of table tennis, as he exceeded his previous highest listing of no.40 earlier last month, moving now to no.39. But it was his compatriot and senior Jeoung Youngsik who climbed five spots from no.18 to get the world no.13 ranking for himself.
Movements aplenty down the women’s list
There were plenty of changes seen in the final 31 days of the decade, with some major unexpected rises and falls. On the women’s ranking list, Singapore’s Lin Ye reached new heights in December, meaning her climb to world no.58 from no.63 was well warranted.
However, it was to be a rough final month of the year for Japan’s Saki Shibata, who lost 11 spots to now be the world no.43. This was in fact down to the two major drops slightly higher up the list when China’s He Zhuojia and Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon both dropped 5 places each and are now world no.18 and no.24 respectively.
There was good news further down the list for China’s Li Jiayi who climbed a mammoth 35 places to reach the world no.160 ranking, making her the biggest climber in the first rankings of the new decade. Following on her closely was her compatriot Qiang Zhang who also climbed 29 spots and now holds the no.106 rank.
Sadly for Noway’s Ma Wenting, it was the drop of 12 spots which brings her to no.186, edging closer to the dreaded 200 number. Belgian Lung Lisa and Italian Giorgia Piccolin both lost 4 spots and will want to push on in 2020 with her new rankings of no.126 and no.124 respectively.
Shake up in the men’s list
Moving beyond the top 50 in the men’s list, there are some names which caught the the eye – but not always for the best of reasons. Such is the double-edged nature of the World Rankings, where there are success stories, there are some who could not follow through on the promise.
But to start with the major positives, the success story of Ibrahima Diaw continues. He has again moved from a previous best of no.82 to no.76. This makes it the second month running, that he sets the highest world ranking ever achieved by a player from Senegal.
Moving from one career best to another, it is no different for Hungary’s Bence Majoros, who is the fourth-highest climber in this month’s rankings, attaining the no. 59 after gaining 10 spots. Just slightly above him in the rankings, France’s Can Akkuzu climbs to world no.71 after a stunning 27 spot-climb. India’s Manav Vikash Thakkar also climbed 20 spots to reach the world no.132.
The biggest rise however, is within the realms of the top 200, where two Chinese men rose 37 and a gigantic 90 spots respectively. Xu Haidong and Xiang Peng are now the world no.130 and no.138, shaking up the men’s ranking like no one else.
Naturally, because of these upward changes there were some butterfly effects down the list. Both Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Japan’s Koki Niwa dropped three spots to reach world no.20 and no.15 respectively, as Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Portugal’s Marcos Freitas dropped a place each to no.25 and no.26.
The major losses, however, came for the likes of Korea Republic’s Lim Jonghoon, Australia’s Heming Hu and Japan’s Yuya Oshima.
Lim Jonghoon has lost 12 positions to now be the world no.43 and despite a strong performance at the Men’s World Cup, Hu Heming is now 10 spots down to no.84. Japan’s Yuya Oshima meanwhile, fell 96 spots and just about stays in the Top 200 at world no.198.
However, none of these come close to the 112 spot drop for China’s Liu Dingshuo who falls to no.227, after having dropped from no.51 to no.115 just last month.
For the complete World Rankings: click here.