by Ian Marshall, Editor
Overall, a total of 14 players will compete, Han Ying and Nina Mittelham, the respective top two seeds, gain a direct entry to round two.
Shan Xioana is the next in ranked order followed by welcome visitors from foreign parts, Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Luxembourg’s Sarah de Nutte. Wan Yuan, Chantal Mantz and Yuki Tsutsui complete the top eight names.
“I think it’s great that we ladies finally get the chance to play a Düsseldorf Masters. It won’t be easy to play matches again after such a long break from competition but I think everyone will give their best and enjoy it. It’s just nice to play against each other again.” Nina Mittelham
A most positive outlook from Nina Mittelham, it is the same from Han Ying, the player pivotal to securing Germany a place in the women’s team final just under four years ago at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Memorably, in the deciding fifth match of the penultimate round fixture against Japan, she overcame Ai Fukuhara in a dramatic full distance contest.
“I am really looking forward to the tournament; this is a good advertisement for table tennis, especially for women’s table tennis. I hope that many young girls will get enthusiastic about our sport when they watch the matches live on the internet”. Han Ying
Very much, Han Ying is the player who sets the standard; she sets the example for the young players who appear on the starting list. Familiar names on the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Sophie Klee and Anastasia Bondareva compete as do cadets Annett Kaufmann, Jele Stortz and Leonie Berger.
The missing piece
All will be in action under the watchful eye of Jie Schöpp, the current German women’s team head coach.
“It’s great to get the opportunity to compete during the Corona time. It’s a good opportunity to check your form after so much training. Many tournaments have been cancelled due to Corona in the last few months. Now that we have learned that the European Championships in Poland in September will take place as planned, we are especially happy to finally have the opportunity to compete again. My team trained well during the competition-free period, but something was missing.” Jie Schöpp
Competition is the missing piece; the Düsseldorf Masters completes the jigsaw.
The fifth tournament in the men’s series will be held from tournament from Friday 10th July to Sunday 12th July.
Saturday 4th July : Round One
10.00 Sarah de Nutte (5) v Leonie Berger
10.30 Wan Yuan (6) v Naomi Panjkovic
11.00 Barbora Balazova (4) v Annett Kaufmann
11.30 Chantal Mantz (7) v Anastasia Bondareva
12.00 Yuki Tsutsui (8) v Sophia Klee
12.30 Shan Xiaona (3) v Jele Stortz
Saturday 4th July: Quarter-Finals
13.00 Han Ying (1) v Chantal Mantz (7) or Anastasia Bondareva
13.35 Nina Mittelham (2) v Yuki Tsutsui (8) or Sophia Klee
Sunday 5th July: Quarter-Finals
10.00 Shan Xiaona (3) or Jele Stortz v Sarah de Nutte (5) or Leonie Berger
10.35 Barbora Balazova (4) or Annett Kaufmann v Yuan Wan (6) or Naomi Pranjkovic
Sunday 5th July: Semi-Finals & Final
Numbers in brackets indicate seeding; times are the earliest the match will be played