Lausanne, Feb 11, 2015: The who’s who of table tennis are all in Kuwait City ready for the Kuwait Open, which is the first GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour Super Series of the year starting today (11 February 2015) and running until Sunday 15 February 2015.
The Super Series is the highest and most prestigious tier of the GAC Group 2015 World Tour, which attracts all the world’s best players as the most prize money and world ranking points are on offer.
120 men and 70 women will fight it out in Kuwait for six titles: Men’s & Women’s singles, Men’s & Women’s doubles and Men’s & Women’s Under 21 singles and US$300,000 prize money!
The big four Chinese super stars XU Xin, MA Long, FAN Zhendong and ZHANG Jike have all won the Kuwait Open once, but none of them have won it twice. This motivation to create history, plus the chance to get an edge over their rivals early in the season will spur on these top stars.
The evergreen 38-year-old Vladimir SAMSONOV (BLR) is the other player in the field that has tasted success in Kuwait, and will again be one of the top challengers to the Chinese, beside Marcos FREITAS (POR) and CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE).
LI Xiaoxia (CHN) has won Olympic and World Championship gold, along with basically every title on offer in international table tennis. Despite these titles, she has never won the Kuwait Open, a glaring omission from her trophy cabinet that she is desperate to change come Sunday.
The 27-year-old is on the comeback from a knee injury which has affected her form in early 2015, but with LI Xiaoxia, you always have to assume she can beat anyone on her best day.
She will have to be at her best to defeat her world number one and two teammates DING Ning and LIU Shiwen, as well as the Olympic bronze medalist from Singapore FENG Tianwei who won three World Tour titles last year.
The 2015 World Tour is offering a record US$3,000,000 in prize money and will also be the most viewed in history, with more events shown live throughout the world on television and all the events being shown live on ITTF’s live streaming platform, itTV.
As was the case in 2014, the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour will be split up into three tiers (highest first): Super (6 events), Major (6 events), Challenge (11 events).
The top 16 singles and top 8 doubles pairs on the World Tour Standings will then be invited to the prestigious World Tour Grand Finals at the end of the year, the location to be announced later. —- ITTF