22 Nov 2021

Runner up four years ago in the German city of Düsseldorf, China’s Fan Zhendong starts favourite to claim the men’s singles title at the forthcoming 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals; he is the top seed.

However, following the draw made in Houston on Sunday 21st November, could colleagues halt his quest for gold?

by Ian Marshall

He is drawn in the same quarter as Lin Gaoyuan, the no.5 seed; Wang Chuqin, the no.12 seed, is a potential fourth round opponent.

Also, in the same half appears Ling Jingkun, the no.6 seed and a player in form, having just won the men’s singles title at the recent World Table Tennis tournaments in Slovenia.

Furthermore, at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, Liang Jingkun ended the progress of Fan Zhendong in round four.

Same quarter

In Houston, in the same quarter of the draw as Fan Zhendong appears Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.15 seed, the potential fourth round opponent for Lin Gaoyuan; in the same round for Liang Jingkun, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano, the no.3 seed, is the nominated adversary.

However, to reach the last eight testing times await. The potential fourth round opponent for Liang Jungkun is England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.11 seed, for Hugo Calderano it is Jang Woojin.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Hugo Calderano beat Jang Woojin in the men’s team event but then lost in the singles.

Lower half

Four players from China in the top half of the draw, it means just one in the lower section, Zhou Qihao. He presents a most intriguing situation, in the second round Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.8 seed awaits.

Timo Boll and Zhou Qihao are listed in the same quarter of the draw as Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu, the no.16 seed and Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.2 seed.

However, there could be a severe test for Lee Sangsu in round three, the host nation’s Kanak Jha, the no.25 seed, is a potential opponent.

Testing times

Exacting times, it could well prove the same for Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.4 seed; he is in the same quarter as Mattias Falck, the no.10 seed and the runner up two years ago in Budapest.

Potentially, Lin Yun-Ju could meet Germany’s Patrick Franziska, the no.10 seed in round four; at the same stage for Mattias Falck, it may be Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.13 seed.

Similar situation

China very much to the heights in the men’s singles order of merit. It is the same in the women’s singles.

Chen Meng, the leading name on duty and Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed alongside Chen Xingtong appear in the top half of the draw; Sun Yungsha, the no.2 seed and Wang Yidi, the no.7 seed are in the lower half.

Potential opponents

Wang Manyu and Chen Xingtong are potential quarter-final opponents but both face exacting fourth round adversaries.

Possibly Wang Manyu could oppose Austria’s Sofia Polcanova, the no.13 seed, for Chen Xingtong, in the same round it could well be Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.5 seed.

Meanwhile, in the same half of the draw, Chen Meng has Japan on her mind. In the fourth round the favourite name is Miu Hirano, the no.9 seed, in the quarter-finals Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.6 seed, could be the adversary.

Japan in evidence

In the lower half of the draw, Japan could also be very much in evidence,

Mima Ito, the no.2 seed, may well oppose Germany’s Petrissa Solja, the no.16 seed and European champion in round four.

Awaiting could well be either Hina Hayata, the no.15 seed or Wang Yidi.

Renew acquaintances

Undoubtedly Mima Ito starts favourite to progress; should that happen, she may well renew acquaintances with Sun Yingsha.

Noteworthy, in round four Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz, the no.14 seed, and recently crowned Pan American champion is the potential adversary.

For the winner either Singapore’s Feng Tianwei, the no.8 seed or Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.10 seed could beckon.

Seeking repeat

Outstanding in Budapest, in the men’s doubles, seeking to repeat their silver medal success, the combination of Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles, the no.4 seeds, appear in the same half of the draw as two formidable Chinese partnerships.

Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun, the top seeds, who could well meet Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and João Monteiro in round two, bronze medallists in Budapest, appear in the same half of the draw, as does the combination of Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin, the no.9 seeds.

They are potential third round adversaries for Ovidiu Ionescu and Alvaro Robles.

Continental champions

Meanwhile, continental champions could meet in round three; Asian champions, Japan’s Shunsuke Togami and Yukiya Uda, the no.2 seed, may well oppose Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes, the no.15 seeds and recently crowned Pan American champions.

New champions to be crowned; there is a former winner present.

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan, the no.6 seeds, successful in 2013 in Paris, appear in the same quarter of the draw as Hungary’s Adam Szudi and Nandor Ecseki, the no.3 seeds.

Significantly, in the same part of the draw appears Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon, the no.10 seeds and winners at the 2018 Grand Finals.

Aiming to retain title

Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan aiming to regain their title, in the women’s doubles, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the no.11 seeds aim to retain the title won in Budapest.

They are in the same half of the draw as Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ching, the no.4 seeds.

Highly rated potential opponents are Germany’s Shan Xiaona and Petrissa Solja, the no.6 seeds and reigning European champions in round three; Japan’s Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seeds, in the quarter-finals.

Top seeds

Notably, in the opposite half of the draw, Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin, the top seeds, are in the same quarter of the draw as China’s Chen Meng and Qian Tianyi.

Japan’s Mima Ito and Hina Hayata, the Budapest silver medallists, are in the same part of the draw as Germany’s Nina Mittelham and Sabine Winter, the no.3 seeds.

The mixed doubles draw will be made at a later date; play commences on Tuesday 23rd November.

General News 2021vITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals 2011 ITTF World Championships

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