European Upsets in Belgium, Who Can Threaten China in Markham?


It was the news of the week, a momentous occasion as Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany lifted the prestigious Men’s World Cup trophy. A major celebration for the German player, but what had occurred before his final showdown was the talking point. It was the European great Timo Boll who had showed his true longevity at the highest levels of the sport by recovering from 10-4 in the 7th game to defeat China’s Lin Gaoyuan and then going on to put on the show of the year, defeating grand slam champion Ma Long – something not many players have achieved in the last 5 years.

So in just 4 days the 2017 Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals will kick off in Downtown Markham and the question is on the table, are there players in the Women’s draw who could upset their Chinese opposition?

Well we know that young sensation Miu Hirano of Japan has blasted through a draw of the best Chinese players in the world before at this year’s Asian Championships, though no doubt as following results showed, they are likely to have heavily studied her game. Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong defeated Liu Shiwen in the Olympic Qualification tournament, but with World Ranking places already guaranteed the event is not on the same scale as the world cup.

There are some top European guns in the draw, Eliza Samara made the final in 2012 but even then despite being in superb form she was topped by Liu Shiwen in straight games for the gold.

Suh Hyowon and Li Jie are in the draw but it would be difficult to see defensive players succeeding against China who have such amazing technical refinery and experience against different styles of play.  In saying that we have seen stellar performances from defenders before like Han Ying defeating Chen Meng in the 2015 China Open and Hu Limei making a monstrous upset over Ding Ning in China’s National team trials a few years ago.

Cheng I-Ching represents the dark horse, along with teammate Chen Szu-Yu who had an incredible Asian Cup tournament and upset a few strong asian opponents like Feng Tianwei of Singapore. Chen and Cheng are not likely to be significantly on China’s radar at the moment and if they find their A Game on the day could potentially cause upsets.

Kasumi Ishikawa is the third seed and on paper is most likely to challenge the two Chinese top seeds, however she is also the player who has competed against China the most in international competition which does make it difficult to get an edge on them.

Any time spent observing potential for toppling the best in the world always seems to come out in a negative light, but with this week’s activity we know one thing. Anything is possible.

If Timo Boll, a player who the Chinese have likely studied for nearly 2 decades, is able to defeat some of the best Chinese players in the world, then there is always a window of opportunity for someone playing their best table tennis on the day. Stay tuned and perhaps we will see some inspiration from Timo Boll flowing into the competitors at the 2017 Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals!
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