Ding Ning, the 2017 World Table Tennis Champion and Grand Slam winner, leads the lineup for the 2017 Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup. The all-star field represents 20 of the strongest female table tennis players on the planet and they will be doing battle in Downtown Markham, Canada, 27-29 October.
A unique opportunity for Ding Ning to hold all of the major titles simultaneously if she wins in Canada, the world number 1 is the current World and Olympic Champion. She will however have to encounter some very tough opposition from top players from around the globe.
The list contains 5 of the top 10 women from this months ITTF World Rankings. Cheng Meng and Liu Shiwen, two of China’s top guns didn’t make the grade with Zhu Yuling squeezing ahead of Liu at the recent Asian Cup to make the two player national quota for China. A final showdown between Zhu and Ding would be a spectacle not to be missed, much like the incredible match they played against each other at the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships Final.
Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa will be looking to advance her current record and climb to the top podium spot. In Linz 2014 she was the bronze medalist, one year later in Sendai she advanced to the final but took away silver as she was trumped by China’s Liu Shiwen.
A total of 5 players in the list have won medals in previous World Cup events, with 19 positions filled and only the mysterious Wild Card qualification remaining. One such player is Miu Hirano, the defending World Cup champion and 2017 Asian Champion. Hirano created history in 2016 when she won the Women’s World Cup, but China who were absent from the contest will be hungry to ensure that isn’t repeated. Hirano stunned the world earlier this year when she beat three of the top Chinese players in the world to win the 2017 Asian Championships, including both Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling. Can she raise her game again and create more history for herself and her nation Japan?
Last year’s silver medalist Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei also returns and will no doubt be looking to capture some strong results. The current World number 10 has been very active in international events and will be seeking another podium finish, no doubt!
Petrissa Solja returns for another shot at a medal, two years ago she was a bronze medalist in Sendai. The left hander from Germany is joined by teammate Sabine Winter as part of a strong contingent of European qualifiers.
Li Jie, Liu Jia and Georgina Pota join the charge for Europe – Pota having come close to a medal in 2014, finishing in 4th place after a very tightly contended bronze medal match with Ishikawa. Jian Fang Lay, the twiddling long pips penholder from Australia is the qualifier from Oceania and will be seeking some upsets with her unique style. Lily Zhang of the USA and Paulina Vega from Chile are the qualifiers from the American continents and Dina Meshref of Egypt is the qualifier from the African continent.
Lee Ho Ching, Suh Hyowon and Doo Hoi Kem also qualified for Asia, along with Chen Szu-Yu who was the surprise qualifier from Asia after her outstanding performances at the 2017 Asian Cup.
Mo Zhang is of course the host entry to round of the current list of 19 and we await with bated breath the announcement of the wild card entry.
So an amazing star-studded lineup for the event and what promises to be some unbelievably high level table tennis at the top echelons of the international sport. How could you possibly pass up an opportunity to be there?
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