Lausanne, Jan 23, 2013: SEEDING, China’s ZHANG Jike, the reigning World champion and gold medallist in both Men’s Singles and Men’s Team events at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is the top seed at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Austrian Open. Proceedings start in Wels on Wednesday 23rd January and conclude on Sunday 27th January.
The Chinese star starts as clear favourite in the Men’s Singles event being listed ahead of Chinese Taipei’s CHUANG Chih-Yuan, compatriot HAO Shuai and Korea’s RYU Seungmin, the Athens 2004 Olympic champion. Similarly in the Women’s Singles event, the winners of planet earth’s major titles are on duty.
Also from China, DING Ning the winner of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships is in action, as is the player against whom she suffered defeat in the London Olympic final, colleague LI Xiaoxia.
Nevertheless, DING Ning did depart London with a gold medal around her neck; alongside LI Xiaoxia she claimed the top step of the podium in the Women’s Team event.
Similarly, in the Women’s Singles, DING Ning and LI Xiaoxia start as favourites occupying the respective top two seeded positions; Japan’s Kasumi ISHIKAWA is the third seed with WU Yang, also from China, the fourth seed.
However, the biggest threat could well come from the player occupying the fifth seeded place, China’s 18 year old CHENG Meng. She finished 2012 in top spot on the GAC GROUP ITTF world Tour Women’s Singles Standings and at the GRAND Finals in December came within a whisker of beating DING Ning.
The ITTF 2013 World Tour Austrian Open is the first Major Series tournament of the year, with a total prize fund of $122,000; the overall prize fund for the complete ITTF 2013 World Tour is in excess of $2,500,000.
Men’s Singles: 1. ZHANG Jike (CHN) 2. CHUANG Chih-Yuan (TPE) 3. HAO Shuai (CHN) 4. RYU Seungmin (KOR) 5. CHEN Weixing (AUT) 6. Marcos FREITAS (POR) 7. Adrien MATTENET (FRA) 8. Patrick BAUM (GER)
Women’s Singles: 1. DING Ning (CHN) 2. LI Xiaoxia (CHN) 3. Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN) 4. WU Yang (CHN) 5. CHEN Meng (CHN) 6. Vivtoria PAVLOVICH (BLR) 7. JIANG Huajun (HKG) 8. LI Jiao (NED). —- ITTF/ Photo by An Sung Ho