Star Studded Field Set to Compete at ITTF World Tour China Open
The world's best are in Chengdu for the final Super Series of the year
A repeat of the epic 2014 Men's World Cup Final clash between MA Long and ZHANG Jike will not be possible at the GAC Group 2015 World Tour China Open, as they have been drawn in the same half.
Despite this, fans in Chengdu, China will be treated to one of the strongest World Tour tournaments in recent history, with nine out of the top ten men, and eight out of the top ten women all competing in the sixth and final Super Series event of the year.
Qualifications for the main draw starts today, 5 August 2015, with players battling to join the world's best players in the main draw, which starts Friday, 7 August, with the medals being handed out on Sunday, 9 August!
If current World Champion MA Long, is to win a record fourth China Open title in a row and sixth overall, he will have to overcome players he has had tough battles with in the past. The world number one is due to play FANG Bo, whom he defeated earlier in the year in the World Championships final, and face his archrival ZHANG Jike in the semi final.
"I always enjoy playing in front of my home fans." stated MA."It would mean a lot to me to win my sixth China Open title. It won't be easy as the world's best players are here, but I will try my best to be the champion!"
It won't be just these players threatening MA Long's quest for a 20th World Tour title. Top stars such as XU Xin, FAN Zhendong, Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Timo BOLL and Marcos FREITAS will also have their eye on securing the prestigious China Open title.
Anticipation is high for the women's event as well, as a rematch of one of the most dramatic World Championships finals in history between DING Ning and LIU Shiwen is on the cards on Sunday.
After the draw, the world number one stated: "I know everyone is looking forward to watching me play LIU Shiwen again. However, this competition is very strong, with many top players, so I will have to play well just to get to the final, as will LIU."
As stated by DING, the field here in Chengdu is very strong, with ZHU Yuling, CHEN Meng, FENG Tianwei, Ai FUKUHARA, Kasumi ISHIKAWA and Mima ITO all looking to make sure that a repeat of the 2015 World Championships final does not come to fruition.
14th stop of the US$3,000,000 GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour, the China Open is also the sixth and final Super Series event of the year, which is the top tier on the World Tour. The rest of the World Tour events are split into Major series (6 events) and Challenge (11 events).
All players will be pushing for Race to Lisbon points in a bid to qualify for the World Tour Grand Finals. The top 16 singles and top eight doubles pairs on the Race to Lisbon Standings will be invited to the prestigious 2015 World Tour Grand Finals to be held in Lisbon, Portugal on 10-13 December 2015.
The GAC Group 2015 World Tour is offering a record US$3,000,000 in prize money, and will also be the most viewed in history, with more events shown live throughout the world on television, and all the events being shown live on ITTF's live streaming platform, ITTF.com/itTV.