by Ian Marshall, Editor
Liu Shiwen is one of the most successful of all in the history of the ITTF World Tour Qatar Open.
Notably, she has won the women’s singles title on three occasions, the only player who can match that record is her now retired colleague, Zhang Yining, the former Olympic and World champion; she won four times succeeding in 2005 and 2006, then once again in consecutive years in 2008 and 2009.
Only once did Zhang Yining lose in the final in Qatar, in 2002 she was beaten by compatriot Wang Nan.
However in terms of appearances in women’s singles finals, Liu Shiwen goes one better. In addition to winning in 2011, 2016 and 2018; she was also the runner up last year as well as in 2010 and in 2013.
Similarly, she has enjoyed women’s doubles success; always partnering Ding Ning, she was the runner up 2009, the winner in 2010 and 2016.
Also, there is one more title to add to the list, last year she won the mixed doubles partnering Xu Xin.
Unfortunately, in addition to Liu Shiwen other notable names have cancelled their entries. In particular in the men’s events Germany’s Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov have withdrawn, as has the in form Qiu Dang, the winner at the recent 2020 ITTF Challenge Series Plus Portugal Open.
Likewise, owing to the current quarantine situation in Qatar as a result of the coronavirus, players from the Korea Republic and, with the exception of Chuang Chih-Yuan, the whole of the Chinese Taipei team, have been forced to withdraw.
Effect on seeding
The effect in the men’s singles entry is that Japan’s Jun Mizutani, Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting, Frenchman Simon Gauzy and England’s Liam Pitchford now enter the seeding. Similarly, Japan’s Hitomi Sato and China’s He Zhuojia now appear on the women’s singles seeding.
In the men’s doubles, China’s Ma Long and Xu Xin replace Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu at the top of the list. The combination of Poland’s Jakub Dyjas and Belgium’s Cédric Nuytinck, alongside the latter’s colleagues Martin Allegro and Florent Lambiet enter the seeding as do Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda in addition to Frenchman Tristan Flore and Emmanuel Lebesson.
New to the women’s doubles seeding, following the absence of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu, is the Polish pairing of Natalia Bajor and Natalia Partyka.
Meanwhile, Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito now occupy the top seeded mixed doubles spot; the absence of Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching, originally second in the order of merit means that Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja, alongside the French pairing of Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier are seeded.