05 Apr 2024

In anticipation of the ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup 2024 to be set from April 15th to 21st in Macao, China, the stage is ready for an epic showdown as Fan Zhendong embarks on an unparalleled quest. With four ITTF Men’s World Cup trophies already adorning his career, he is on everyone’s radar as we head closer to the event. Currently, holding the joint record for most Men’s World Cup wins with Ma Lin, Fan Zhendong has his sights on a record-breaking fifth victory in Macao.

In 2016, Fan Zhendong became the youngest World Cup winner among men at 19 years and 8 months.

Fan Zhendong’s display at the World Cup over the past five editions when competing has been nothing short of perfection, only losing one match in his Men’s World Cup career. Reaching the final on every occasion, with his one loss in 2015 in Halmstad at his World Cup debut against compatriot Ma Long. He went on to claim his first Men’s Cup gold at just 19 the following year in Saarbrucken, and then followed up with three consecutive wins in 2018 in Paris, 2019 in Chengdu and 2020 in Weihai, being the only player to win the Men’s World Cup in three straight years. He is on a 16-match win streak at the event and is heavily backed to extend that run in Macao.

In the most recent Men’s World Cup, Fan Zhendong avenged his 2015 final loss against Ma Long, defeating him in a thrilling seven-game match that had the home crowd on the edge of their seats and cementing his place in World Cup history.

Fan Zhendong celebrates a point in the ITTF Men’s World Cup 2020 Final against Ma Long.

The road to the final will be tricky. The 27-year-old’s form in recent months hasn’t been at its all-time best, losing his World No. 1 spot to Wang Chuqin in March following his surprise defeat to Lin Shindong in the round of 32 at the Singapore Smash 2024. In his most recent WTT appearance at WTT Champions Incheon 2024, he was knocked out in the semi-finals by Hugo Calderano, marking his first loss to Calderano since 2018.

Looking ahead, Fan Zhendong’s road to a potential fifth World Cup title poses plenty of roadblocks with competitors such as Wang Chuqin, Lin Shindong, Lee Sang Su, Lin Gaoyuan, Felix Lebrun and many others confirmed to compete. He will have to navigate multiple of these players to earn a spot in the final where he will potentially face World No. 1 Wang Chuqin who has won their last two encounters.

As the countdown draws closer to Macao, whether Fan Zhendong can emerge victorious and add to his growing collection of trophies remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the ITTF Men’s World Cup 2024 will certainly be an adrenaline-fuelled spectacle for everyone involved.

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