Dishang revisited; a possibility in Zhengzhou?
Play of the highest order, at the recent Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup in Weihai, Fan Zhendong beat Ma Long to claim the title; it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that one week later in the very same round, they could meet again.
They appear in opposite halves of the draw at the forthcoming Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals, play commences in Zhengzhou on Thursday 19th November.
However, such a scenario could well be dependent on the form of colleague, Xu Xin. Not present in Weihai, in Zhengzhou he is the no.2 seed and appears in the same half as Ma Long, the no.3 seed.
Most notably, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.7 seed, is in the same quarter of the draw as Xu Xin. In the opening round he meets Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, a player he has beaten on their most recent three encounters; Xu Xin starts his journey by confronting Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, the no.16 seed.
Meanwhile, for Ma Long, the opening round opponent is Patrick Franziska, the no.13 seed and like Dimitrij Ovtcharov from Germany; waiting in the quarter-finals is either Sweden’s Mattias Falck, the no.8 seed or Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.15 seed.
Germany a major challenger to Chinese aspirations in the lower half of the draw; in the top half it is Korea Republic and Japan. In fact they meet in the opening round. Jang Woojin, the no.14 seed, confronts Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed, the player against whom he narrowly experienced defeat in the bronze medal contest at the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup.
Either the latter’s Japanese compatriot, Koki Niwa, the no.10 seed or China’s Lin Gaoyuan, the no.5 seed, beckon in the quarters.
The odds are very much with Lin Gaoyuan; since losing to Koki Niwa in the boys’ singles final at the 2011 World Junior Championships, the three encounters since that date have all finished in the hands of Lin Gaoyuan.
Undoubtedly a tough task for Jang Woojin, for Jeoung Youngsik, the no.11 seed, life is even more daunting. In round one, he faces Fan Zhendong; for the winner either Brazil’s Hugo Calderano the no.6 seed or England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.12 seed, lay in wait.
The first round matches conclude on Friday 20th November.
19th Nov - Fan Zhendong (CHN) v Jeoung Youngsik (KOR
19th Nov - Liam Pitchford (CHN) v Hugo Calderano (BRA)
20th Nov - Lin Gaoyuan (CHN) v Koki Niwa (JPN)
19th Nov - Jang Woojin (KOR) v Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN)
19th Nov - Ma Long (CHN) v Patrick Franziska (GER)
19th Nov - Simon Gauzy (FRA) v Mattias Falck (SWE)
20th Nov - Lin Yun-Ju (TPE) v Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER)
19th Nov - Quadri Aruna (NGR) v Xu Xin (CHN)
Editor: Ian Marshall