Kuwait, Feb 20, 2013: The top step of the medal podium on Monday 18th February but on Wednesday 20th February it is back down to earth, for China’s YAN An.
At the ITTF 2013 World Tour Kuwait Open, he won the Men’s Doubles title in partnership with XU Xin. Now, two days later it is start at the very beginning; the 20 year old must play in the qualification stage of the Men’s Singles event at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Qatar Open.
He is the highest World ranked player who is required to play in the first phase and, one of four players seeded in Kuwait, who must also negotiate the group stage hurdle to secure places in the main draw. Korea’s JUNG Youngsik, India’s Sharath Kamal ACHANTA and Hong Kong’s CHEUNG Yuk are the other three names in question.
Meanwhile, in the qualification stage of the Women’s Singles event in Doha, the top two names will be seeking a better outcome than in Kuwait; when, likewise, they were required to compete in the qualification phase of affairs.
Ayuka TANIOKA of Japan is the leading name, followed by Singapore’s ZHOU Yihan; in Kuwait, neither progressed beyond the first stage. Ayuka TANIOKA was beaten by Korea’s KANG Minsoon, whilst ZHOU Yihan suffered defeat at the hands of LEE Yearam, also from Korea and Japan’s Yuki NONAKA.
ITTF 2013 World Tour Qatar Open, Yuki NONAKA and KANG Misoon are the third and fourth highest World ranked players respectively in the qualification phase of the Women’s Singles event.
In both the Men’s and Women’s Singles events there are places for 32 qualifiers to join the 32 seeds’ in the main draw. The players finishing in first place in each of the 29 groups in the Men’s Singles event plus three “Lucky Losers” drawn from the second placed players qualify for the main draw. In the Women’s Singles event, players finishing in first and second places in each of the 15 groups plus two “Lucky Losers” drawn from the third placed players, gain main draw places.
Play in the main draw commences on Friday 22nd February. Top seed in the Men’s Singles event is XU Xin followed by Chinese national team colleagues ZHANG Jike, MA Long and Wang Hao.
It is the same four names as in Kuwait, a situation that also exists, in Qatar, in the Women’s Singles competition. The Chinese trio of DING Ning, LIU Shiwen and LI Xiaoxia head the list followed by Singapore’s FENG Tianwei. —- ITTF/ Photo by Philipp Hampl