GAO Ning replaced YAN An in Dubai
China’s YAN An has withdrawn from the forthcoming US$ 1.000.000 GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in Dubai from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th January 2014; he will be replaced by Singapore’s GAO Ning. The Men’s Doubles defending champ
China’s YAN An has withdrawn from the forthcoming US$ 1.000.000 GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in Dubai from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th January 2014; he will be replaced by Singapore’s GAO Ning. The Men’s Doubles defending champion with LI Hu and the top seeded pair GAO Ning will be the no.16 seed in the Men’s Singles competition.
Top seeded is MA Long of China World’s no. one player, whilst the European challenge is lead by Dimitrij OVTCHAROV of Germany listed at position no. 6 in December. In November OVTCHAROV reached his career high by hitting position no. 5. He is Men’s Singles bronze medallist at London 2012 Olympic Games and European Champion 2013 in Austria. This will be Dima’s 6th appearance at the ITTF Pro World Tour Grand Finals.
In Men’s singles Event Old Continent will have another representative – Abdel Kader SALIFOU of France, World’s no. 103. In 2013 French player won GAC Group 2013 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles titles in Cairo, Zagreb and Rabat; the result was that for the first time in his career he traversed the one hundred mark on the World Rankings. One year ago in December 2012, he stood at no.163; in November 2013 he climbed to no.99. Now, in December 2013, he is just below the waterline at no.103.
Ma Long has the chance to become the most successful World Tour Grand Final player of all time if he wins in Dubai. At this moment he stands at the top of the list of winners with three titles at the ITTF Pro World Tour Grand Finals. MA won it in 2011, 2009 and 2008 and equals WANG Liqin’s record (2004, 2000 and 1998). Last year in Hangzhou XU Xin of China clinched the title. He is third seed in Dubai.