Lausanne, Dec 2, 2013: After 19 events, 1,393 players, 7,461 matches, 34,708 games and 635,462 points, the line up for the 1 million dollar GAC 2013 Group World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai on 9-12 January 2014 has been established.
The top 16 men and 16 women from the World Tour standings who have also played in at least five World Tour events, plus one UAE player for both the men’s and women’s singles make the cut to attend the most lucrative table tennis event in the world.
World number one MA Long (CHN) topped the men’s charts, after winning 3 World Tour Super Series events, which is the highest of the three World Tour tiers.
16 year old sensation FAN Zhendong (CHN) finished second, after becoming the youngest ever winner of a World Tour event at the Polish Open in November and followed it up a week later with gold at the German Open to establish himself as the next big thing in table tennis less than 12 months after becoming the World Junior Champion.
The World Tour Grand Finals will cap an unexpected rise to fame for Masato SHIONO (JPN). The defender was so far down the Japanese rankings that he had to pay his own entry fees for the Japan Open. He ended up winning from the qualification stage, the first ever player to do so. The 27-year-old then used this prize money to travel to four other World Tour events, which included a victory at the Czech Open to secure his berth in Dubai.
France’s Abdel-Kader SALIFOU battled his way to qualification through the lower tiers of the event, winning three Challenge Series titles. This will give heart to fellow Challenge Series players, that if they excel, the sky is the limit.
2011 World Champion DING Ning (CHN) finished first in the women’s World Tour standing and will head to Dubai full of confidence after winning three World Tour titles in 2013.
World and Olympic Champion LI Xiaoxia (CHN), world number one LIU Shiwen (CHN), Japan Open champion AI FUKUHARA (JPN) and Viktoria PAVLOVICH (BLR) are also on the plane to Dubai after finishing in the top 16.
In addition to the 16 men and women singles players, the top 8 men and women doubles pairs and 8 men and women from the under-21 events will make up the entry list in the the Grand Finals..
Amongst the doubles qualifiers is 13-year-old Japanese prodigy Mima ITO who will partner Miu HIRANO (JPN) in Dubai.
ITO, who is the youngest player to line up in the senior events in Dubai is a remarkable 27 years younger than LI Jiao (NED), who will play in the women’s singles, showing that table tennis has no age barriers.
After a strong year, NG Wing Nam (HGK) topped the women’s under-21 standings, just ahead of Germany’s Petrissa SOLJA.
Japan’s Masataka MORIZONO was the most successful in the men’s under-21 standings, with HUNG Tzu-Hsiang (HGK) coming in second.
In conjunction with the GAC Group 2013 World Tour Grand Finals, the ITTF will host its inaugural 2013 Star Awards.
1. Ma Long (China) 2. Fan Zhendong (China) 3. Xu Xin (China) 4. Masato Shiono (Japan) 5. Yan An (China) 6. Zhang Jike (China) 7. Wang Hao (China) 8. Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany) 9. Abdel-Kader Salifou (France) 10. Kazuhiro Chan (Japan) 11. Chuang Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei) 12. Koki Niwa (Japan) 13. Kim Minseok (Korea) 14. Taku Takakiwa (Japan) 15. Kenta Matsudaira (Japan) 16. Cazuo Matsumoto (Brazil) Host Nation: Abdulla Al-Mohaiseni (United Arab Emirates)
1. Ding Ning (China) 2. Liu Shiwen (China) 3. Ai Fukuhara (Japan) 4. Li Xiaoxia (China) 5. Seo Hyowon (Korea) 6. Feng Tianwei (Singapore) 7. Viktoria Pavlovich (Belarus) 8. Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan) 9. Zhu Yuling (China) 10. Li Jiao (Netherlands) 11. Elizabeta Samara (Romania) 12. Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong) 13. Jiang Huajun (Hong Kong) 14. Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei) 15. Jeon Jihee (Korea) 16. Maria Dolgikh (Russia) Host Nation Majd Albooshi (United Arab Emirates)
1. Gao Ning / Li Hu (Singapore) 2. Alexey Liventsov / Mikail Paikov (Russia) 3. Chiang Hung-Chieh / Huang Sheng-Sheng (Chinese Taipei) 4. Robert Gardos / Daniel Habesohn (Austria) 5. Kazuhiro Chan / Kenji Matsudaira (Japan) 6. Kim Minseok / Seo Hyundeok (Korea) 7. Yang Zi / Zhan Jian (Singapore) 8. Chen Chien-An / Chuang
Chih-Yuan (Chinese Taipei) Women’s Doubles
1. Ding Ning / Li Xiaoxia (China) 2. Cheng I-Ching / Huang Yi-Hua (Chinese Taipei) 3. Zhenqi Barthel / Shan Xiaona (Germany) 4. Park Yoongsook / Yang Haeun (Korea) 5. Linda Creemers / Li Jiao (Netherlands) 6. Jiang Huajun / Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong) 7. Miu Hirano / Mima Ito (Japan) 8. Feng Tianwei / Yu Mengyu (Singapore)
Under 21 Men’s Singles
1. Masataka Morizono (Japan) 2. Hung Tzu_Hsiang (Chinese Taipei) 3. Patrick Franziska (Germany) 4. Maharu Yoshimura (Japan) 5. Quentin Robinot (France) 6. Julien Inderherberg (Belgium) 7. Simon Gauzy (France) 8. Wu Zhikang (Singapore)
Under 21 Women’s Singles
1. Ng Wing Nam (Hong Kong) 2. Petrissa Solja (Germany) 3. Misaki Morizono (Japan) 4. Lee Ho Ching (Hong Kong) 5. Shiho Matsudaira (Japan) 6. Sofia Polcanova (Austria) 7. Yang Haeun (Korea) 8. Lin Ye (Singapore). —- Photo by Alex Lomaev/ ITTF