by Ian Marshall, Editor
Originally amongst the seeded players, the absence of Hugo Calderano means that the final seeded position amongst the top 16 names is that of Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik, presently standing at no.13 on the men’s world rankings, having at the time of entries being listed at no.18.
Quite simply that fact alone underlines the quality of the competition that witness the top names in the current order of merit heading the entry. Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Ma Long occupy the top three places, already selected for the China at the forthcoming World Team Championships in Busan and undoubtedly the trio that will be on duty at the ensuing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Furthermore, the qualification event also endorses the high level of the entry; the stand out name is very much that of Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus with 27 ITTF World Tour men’s singles titles to his credit but also note those of Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Frenchman Simon Gauzy.
Likewise, the names of Portugal’s Marcos Freitas, Kanak Jha and Omar Assar appear as do two further players who last year most certainly made an impression.
Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun will be on duty in the preliminary stages, sensationally a semi-finalist at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, as will China’s Zhao Zihao, a young man who made a major impact towards the end of last year. Notably on the ITTF World Tour he was the runner up in Bulgaria and Austria.
Also add the likes of Fang Bo, also from China, the runner up at the Qoros 2015 World Championships plus that of Chinese Taipei’s venerable Chuang Chih-Yuan, the winner at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in 2002 in Stockholm and there is one conclusion.
A mouth watering tournament awaits and that’s just the qualification!