Ping-pong: Chinese Teen Players Progress


It is the teenage players from China who have made the most notable progress in the latest ITTF Men's and Women's World Ranking lists.

Seventeen year old Ma Long climbs to no.21 in the men's list, whilst in the counterpart female rankings, the two eighteen year olds, Cao Zhen and Chang Chenchen appear at no.12 and no.28 respectively, nineteen year old Fan Ying is no.18, whilst fifteen year old, Ding Ning, is now at no.31.

Ranked no.49 in the November 2005, Ma Long recorded a series of victories over higher ranked players at both the Liebherr German and the Liebherr Swedish Opens; in Magdeburg notable scalps were Chinese Taipe's, Chuan Chih-Yuan, Korea's Oh Sang Eun and Germany's Timo BOLL, whilst in Gothenburg he overcame the two players who reached the final of the Men's Singles event at the 2003 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships, Korea's Joo Se Hyuk and Austria's Werner Schlager.

Meanwhile, for Cao Zhen, Chang Chenchen and Fan Ying the progress is a little less dramatic than that of Ma Long. Cao Zhen and Fan Ying both progress four places, whilst Chang Chenchen has moved eight places higher.

Progress for Cao Zhen is as a result of her unbeaten performances in both the Liebherr German and Liebherr Swedish Opens where, on both occasions, she won the Women's Singles title. Meanwhile, for Chang Chenchen and Fan Ying a series of consistent performances has been the reason for their progress.

Fan Ying was the runner up in the Women's Singles event at the Liebherr German Open beating Korea's Kim Kyung Ah in the semi-finals, whilst at the Liebherr Swedish Open she reached the third round where Kim Kyung Ah's colleague, Lee Eun Hee, ended progress. Chang Chenchen reached the third round of the Women's Singles event at the Liebherr German Open, losing narrowly to Tamara Boros, whilst at the Liebherr Swedish Open she went one round further, being beaten by Ding Ning, the player who like MA Long has made giant strides.

Ding Ning was ranked no.54 on the November 2005 Women's World Ranking list, she is now at no.31. Alongside Cao Zhen and Chang Chenchen she was on duty at the Liebherr German Open and the Liebherr Swedish Open; in the former she progressed through the qualification group stage successfully but not unsurprisingly lost in the opening round of the main draw to the defensive skills of the Belarus backspin player, Viktoria Pavlovich, World ranked no.14.

However, the following week in Gothenburg she excelled. She beat Slovenia's Martina Safrain, Hong Kong's Song Ah Sim and colleague, Chang Chenchen to reach the semi-final stage where in seven games she lost to Cao Zhen.

(ITTF via CRI December 6, 2005)