World Champions Ma Long & Ding Ning head seeding for World Championships
The seeding for the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships has been released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), with reigning World Champions MA Long (CHN) & DING Ning (CHN) heading the seeding at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships to be held from 29 May – 05 June 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
World & Olympic Champion MA, who has swept several major international titles since his victory at the Qoros 2015 World Championships, will have his eyes set on defending his Men's Singles title.
MA will have to fend off competition not only from his teammates, FAN Zhendong, XU Xin & ZHANG Jike, who are seeded two to four accordingly, but also local favorites Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER) & Timo BOLL (GER) who will be aiming to put up their best performance to thrill their local fans & get their hands on the medals.
Having suffered from surprise defeats early during the 2013 & 2015 World Championships, OVTCHAROV is determined not to let history repeat itself on home soil. The fifth seed shared "I want to just play my best table tennis that I was not capable of at the last two World Championships, and if I can achieve this goal, I believe I'm tough to beat and can come far in the tournament. For this, I'm working hard."
Other contenders for the Men's Singles throne include Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Jun MIZUTANI & table tennis legend Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR), seeded six & 12 respectively, aiming to end the Chinese dominance at the World Championships.
For the Women's Singles, top seeded DING is looking to defending her crown to claim her third World Championship title, while, second seeded LIU Shiwen (CHN), who lost the dramatic Women's Singles final to DING in 2015 to settle for Silver, will be determined to avenge her bitter loss & claim the title.
ZHU Yuling (CHN), Singapore's FENG Tianwei, CHEN Meng (CHN) and Japan's Kasumi ISHIKAWA filled the remaining places in the top six contending for the Women's Singles crown.
All eyes are set on Japanese sensation Miu HIRANO in Düsseldorf, after the 17-year-old upset DING & her compatriots, ZHU & CHEN, at the Asian Championships last month to end the Chinese winning streak since 1996.
"I felt very good at the Asian Championships, especially physically, the victory also gave me more confidence for the upcoming World Championships, where I'm aiming for a medal in both the Singles & the Doubles event with Kasumi ISHIKAWA. Since I won the Asian Championships, I hope my good form will continue in Düsseldorf to aim for another Gold," stated HIRANO who is seeded eighth at the World Championships.
Japanese pair Masataka MORIZONO & Yuya OSHIMA and mixed associations pair Matilda EKHOLM (SWE) & Georgina POTA (HUN) have had a good run claiming titles on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour and will head the seeding in the Men's Doubles & Women's Doubles events respectively. 2015 Mixed Doubles World Champion YANG Haeun will also join forces with compatriot LEE Sangsu to charge for the Mixed Doubles Gold as the top seeds.
The Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships will see 613 players from 108 countries making their trip to Düsseldorf to fight for the five titles up for grabs in Germany: Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Qualification for the singles main draw of 128 will start on 29 May 2017, with the main draw starting 31 May. The Women's champion will be crowned on 4 June and the Men's on 5 June.