China's Fan Takes World Number One Spot for the First Time
21-year-old FAN Zhendong (CHN) has overtook table tennis legend Timo BOLL (GER) to become the new world number one for the first time in his career on the new April 2018 ITTF World Ranking released yesterday. The 2017 World Championships silver medalist FAN, who took the world number two spot since November 2015, won the prestigious title at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open earlier in March to earn him the world ranking points to top the chart this month.
"It is an amazing feeling to become the word number one, it has always been a big dream of mine. I hope I can keep this position for a very long time," stated FAN after receiving the news that he will take over the top spot on the new World Ranking.
BOLL, who made history last month to become the oldest world number one at 36-years-old, 22 months and 21 days old on 1 March after rolling back the years to reclaim the top spot, settles at number two, one place ahead of compatriot Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (GER). FAN's teammate XU Xin and LIN Gaoyuan takes the fourth and fifth place respectively, while reigning World & Olympic Champion MA Long, whose ranking fell due to inactivity in 2017, makes his way back up the chart to number six this month after taking Gold at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open in Bremen last week.
Brazil's Hugo CALDERANO's world ranking rose to a career new high at number 12, after a successful outing in Qatar, upsetting several top stars to make the finals.
In the Women's ranking, China's CHEN Meng reclaims the world number one position from colleague ZHU Yuling after reaching semifinals at the Qatar Open, while ZHU was knocked out of the tournament early in the Round of 32 by eventual Champion LIU Shiwen (CHN), whose ranking rose from 20 in March to 10 this month. Japan's Kasumi ISHIKAWA & Singapore's FENG Tianwei remains at three and four on the April's World Ranking list, while Qatar Open finalist WANG Manyu climbed two places up to settle fifth and round up the top 5 on the Women's World Ranking.
This comes under the effect of the newly developed ITTF World Ranking which will present a more accurate measure and realistic representation of the playing level of athlete's current performance, as well as to ensure that the World Ranking better supports ITTF events.
The world's top stars will now make full preparations for the biggest table tennis event of the year, the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships to be held in Halmstad, Sweden from 29 April to 6 May 2018.