#RESTART continues with Men's World CupPhoto: Rémy Gros ITTF
The Dishang 2020 ITTF Men's World Cup is delivering more top-class table tennis over the next three days (13 – 15 November) in Weihai, China. This is the second event of the #RESTART series, which marks the return of international table tennis after eight months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This follows just days after several of the globe's best women's players put on a show at the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women's World Cup between 8 – 10 November, which saw world no.1 Chen Meng (China) claim gold.
The 41st edition of the Men's World Cup gets under way with the group stage on Friday 13 November before the knockout stages are held between Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November at the Weihai Nanhai Olympic Center.
Fan Zhendong (China – top seed) is setting out to defend his crown and match Ma Lin's all-time record of four Men's World Cup titles. The World no.1 has tasted victory already in 2016 (Saarbrücken), 2018 (Paris) and 2019 (Chengdu).
Meanwhile, Ma Long (China – no.2 seed) is looking to add a third Men's World Cup to his burgeoning trophy cabinet. The reigning Olympic and World Champion won the event in 2012 (Liverpool) and 2015 (Halmstad).
Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan – no.3 seed) is aiming to go one better in Weihai, having reached the final of the 2019 edition. The 17-year-old is joined by fellow teenager, Lin Yun-Ju (Chinese Taipei – no.5 seed). The 19-year-old won bronze last year on his Men's World Cup debut.
Hugo Calderano (Brazil – no.4 seed) is hoping for a big impact at his fourth Men's World Cup. Among Europe's top representatives are Mattias Falck (Sweden – no.6 seed), a silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, and Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany – no.7 seed), who won the Men's World Cup in 2017 (Liège). Koki Niwa (Japan – no.8 seed) completes the seedings in Weihai.
Friday 13 November sees the action begin with 13 players, seeded 9 to 21, vying to finish in the top two positions across four groups in order to reach the knockout stages, held between 14 – 15 November.
Group 1: Jeoung Youngsik (Korea Republic – no.9 seed) and Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong China – no.14 seed) are the favourites to progress. They will face competition from Tomislav Pucar (Croatia no.19 seed), a Men's World Cup debutant, and Ahmed Saleh (Saleh – no.21 seed).
Group 2: Liam Pitchford (England – no.10 seed) is lining up against Kanak Jha (USA – no.15 seed) and Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei – no.17 seed). Chuang is competing in his 16th Men's World Cup.
Group 3: Patrick Franziska (Germany – no.11 seed) and Darko Jorgic (Slovenia – no.18 seed) are both making their debuts at the Men's World Cup. The European pair is joined by the experienced Quadri Aruna (Nigeria – no.13 seed), a quarter-finalist in 2014 and playing at his seventh World Cup.
Group 4: Jang Woojin (Korea Republic – no.12 seed) is taking part in his first-ever Men's World Cup in Weihai, where he will meet Robert Gardos (Austria – no.16 seed) and Gustavo Tsuboi (Brazil – no.20 seed).