(by Steve Hopkins, photo by ITTFWorld)
World Table Tennis, a new ITTF entity designed to create table tennis entertainment events, has launched its first event – the WTT Macao 2020 Presented by Galaxy Entertainment Group. The event is at the TAP SEAC Multisport Pavilion in Macau, the autonomous region of China located across the bay from Hong Kong.
WTT invited 16 men and women. The headliners on the Men’s side include Xu Xin, Ma Long, Lin Gaoyuan, and Hugo Calderano. The headliners on the Women’s side include Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu, and Ding Ning. Key international players from outside Asia include Mattias Falck, Liam Pitchford, and Robert Gardos and some of the international women players include USA’s Lily Zhang, Adriana Diaz, Petrissa Solja, and Bernadette Szocs.
The bottom seven players played in a knockout format with the winners proceeding. The Round One winners played seeds 5-8 in Round Two. And the four winners of Round Two then played against the Top 4 seeds (whose position was determined by shortened seeding matches between the other top seeds with the winner only needing 8 points in each game).
In the first Men’s Round (“Battle 1”), Liam Pitchford, Fang Bo, Wong Chun Ting, and Gustavo Tsuboi advanced. Each then faced seeded players, and only Fang Bo upset a higher seed (overtaking Lin Yun-Ju 3-2). In the Quarterfinals, there were two wins by the higher seed – Ma Long overcame Youngsik Jeoung 3-2 and Ling Gaoyuan beat Fan Bo 3-1. However, there were also two upsets with Mattias Falck toppling top seed Xu Xin, and Wang Chuqin defeating Hugo Calderano. The Saturday Semifinal Matchups will be Mattias Falck versus Wang Chuqin and Lin Gaoyuan versus Ma Long.
On the Women’s side, Lily Zhang defeated Petrissa Solja in her opening match. Lily then fell to Tianwei Feng in the second round. Adriana Diaz fell to Jihee Jeon. The top seed won all four of the second round matches (the “Battle 2” matches). Cheng I-Ching, Feng Tianwei, Wang Yidi, and Chen Xingtong advanced. In the Quarterfinals, only one player outside of the Top 4 managed an upset – that was Chen Xingtong who upset Ding Ning 3-2. Xington will face Chen Meng in one Semifinal, and Wang Manyu will face Sun Yingsha in the other Semifinal.
Check in at ButterflyOnline.com starting Thursday for updates on the progress of this event and other events.