Zhang Jike Back in Action at Inaugural ITTF World Tour Hong Kong OpenPhoto: ITTF
Grand Slam Champion ZHANG Jike (CHN) has made his return to the international table tennis scene at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, Hang Seng Hong Kong Open that gets officially underway today, 24 May 2018 till 27 May 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.
Listed at number 87 of the most popular global athletes, ZHANG who saw his world ranking had fell to number 168 due to inactivity over the past year, was last seen at the German Open in November 2017 and had taken time off since for recovery of his injuries.
Having to fight his way through the qualification rounds yesterday to secure his place in the main draw of the Hang Seng Hong Kong Open, ZHANG shared on his current form “I feel good while training, but practice and competition is different, as the rhythm and pressure is different. Regardless of how much experience a player has, after a year of not playing a major event I still feel like a stranger to what should be a familiar situation. I'll continue playing a series of World Tour events to slowly find my form again and play each game one at a time without any expectations.”
The former world number one will now have to face 2017 Mixed Doubles World Champion Maharu YOSHIMURA (JPN) in his round of 32 encounter in order to continue his run in Hong Kong.
Local star, world number seven, WONG Chun Ting will be heading the seeding in the men’s singles event to fight for the prestigious Gold and aim to win the inaugural Hong Kong Open title on home soil.
In the women’s singles, world number 11 DOO Hoi Kem & 19 LEE Ho Ching who led the team to a podium finish at the recently concluded Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, will be heading the local charge to keep the Gold at home.
The task will be a tough one for the Hong Kong duo with the seven of the world’s top 10 women in action at the event, including world number three Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN), Mima ITO (JPN), Miu HIRANO (JPN), as well as 2018 World Team Champions WANG Manyu (CHN) and LIU Shiwen (CHN).
The Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open is the second of six ITTF World Tour events in 2018. Together with and additional six ITTF World Tour Platinum events, which is the top tier of the World Tour, players compete to earn World Tour Standings points to be one of top 16 to qualify for the one-million-dollar World Tour Grand Finals in December.
Watch all the action live on tv.ITTF.com.