(by Steve Hopkins)
In a ceremony today in Houston, officials pulled names to set up the draw for the World Championships. Fan Zhendong is the top seed in Men’s Singles, and he should have smooth sailing to the Round of 16. However, from that point forward, things get interesting – Wang Chuqin could be on a collision course with Fan in the Round of 16. Lin Gaoyuan and Koki Niwa are both in position to potentially face the Chuqin/Fan winner in the Quarters, and the rest of the top half of the draw could result in Hugo Calderano or Liang Jingkun making the Semifinals. Or to say that differently, one potential path for Fan to reach the Finals would include three consecutive wins over Chinese teammates (Wang Chuqin, Lin Gaoyuan, and Liang Jingkun).
The bottom half of the draw is headlined by Tomokaqu Harimoto and Lin Yun-Ju as the top seeds. However, it will also include Sangsu Lee, Timo Boll, Mattias Falck, and Zhou Qihao (the only Chinese player in the bottom half of the draw).
Matchups of interest include USA’s Kanak Jha lined upagainst a very tough An Jaehyun from Korea. USA’s Nikhil Kumar who will face Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, USA’s Kao Zhang who will play Gaston Alto, Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzales who will face England’s Sam Walker, and Puerto Rico’s Brian Afanador who will face Joao Monteiro with the winner playing Hugo Calderano. Another interesting note about two high seeds – it is likely that Timo Boll’s first match will be against a very tough Zhou Qihao with the winner getting a pretty easy run to the Round of 16 (or even into the Quarters).
In Women’s Singles, Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha are the top two seeds. If Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz were to win out, she could meet Snn Yingsha in the Round of 16. Canada’s Mo Zhang could see Japan’s Miu Hirano in the Round of 32 and top seed Chen Meng in the Round of 16. If Jennifer wu gets past Sofia-Xuan Zhang, she’ll face Korea’s Jeon Jihee (who has a bye in the first round) and the winner would likely see Bernadette Szocs and then perhaps Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa (barring any upsets).
USA’s Amy Wang will face Germany’s Nina Mittelham in a section of the draw where the highest seed is Cheng I-Ching. USA’s Lily Zhang will be favored over Leonie Hartbrich, in a section of the draw tih Sabine Winter and Doo Hoi Kem. If Lily won out, she could face Feng Tianwei in the Round of 16 with the winner looking at Sun Yingsha in the Quarters.
There are no easy matches in Houston. Tune in for updates on the action starting Wednesday.
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