WC teammates become rivals on the ITTF World Tour
The GAC Group World Tour Super Series gets back underway after a 2-month break, with the qualification for the China Open, hosted in Chengdu, China, beginning tomorrow. 7 out of the top 10 ranked men and 9 out of the top 10 ranked women will be present in
The GAC Group World Tour Super Series gets back underway after a 2-month break, with the qualification for the China Open, hosted in Chengdu, China, beginning tomorrow. 7 out of the top 10 ranked men and 9 out of the top 10 ranked women will be present in the Sichuan Province to battle it out for vital “Race to Bangkok” ranking, to earn their place at the 1 million dollar World Tour Grand Finals to be held in Bangkok, Thailand at the end of the year.
Members of the Chinese Team, who were crowned World Team Champions last month on the back of a strong team unity, will have to change their mentality as they now find their team mates on the other side of the table.
Defending champion and world number two, MA Long (CHN), does not see this as a problem: “We are all professionals and we are used to playing against each other regularly. It was amazing winning the World Championships with this great team, but now we all want to beat our team mates to win the China Open.”
Despite MA Long being the defending champion and favourite for the event, the 25 year-old will face stiff competition from his team mate and good friend XU Xin (CHN), who now sits one place higher in the world ranking and has won 7 out of 7 matches played on the ITTF World Tour this year. If all the matches go to seeding, they will meet each other in the finals, which will be a repeat of the GAC Group 2013 World Tour Grand Finals where XU Xin was triumphant.
World number seven CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE) and Youth Olympic Games champion Koki NIWA (JPN) will lead the international charge to take the China Open gold medal out of China.
History will be made if Olympic champion LI Xiaoxia (CHN) can stand on the top of the podium in Chengdu. A victory on the weekend will be her sixth China Open triumph, which will be an all time record for the event.
Like her Chinese male counterparts, LI Xiaoxia will have to overcome her team mates, who together with her, won the World Team Championships title in Tokyo, Japan.
After the draw, where LI Xiaoxia found out that she is due to play world number one LIU Shiwen (CHN) in the semi finals, stated: “After Tokyo I had a bit of rest, but I am back into action now playing in the Chinese Super League. I will have to play at my best to win here as there are fantastic players present, especially LIU Shiwen who I have to play in the semi finals, but hopefully I can do it.”
Olympic bronze medalist FENG Tianwei (SIN) will also be pushing for gold after winning back-to-back at World Tour Challenge events (3rd tier of the GAC Group World Tour) in Philippines and Australia last month.
Qualification for the 16 positions available in the main draw starts tomorrow, the 4th of June at the Sichuan Province Gymnasium. The 16 players who secure qualification, together with the 16 seeded players, will start the round of 32 knock out on Friday 6 June.
In addition to the men’s and women’s singles, there are also men’s and women’s doubles, as well as men’s and women’s under 21 singles titles on offer in Chengdu.