Chinese stars highlight 2016 Table Tennis Asian Cup draw in Dubai

Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen of China were the top names in the 2016 Table Tennis Asian Cup draw held on Wednesday in Dubai.

Xu Xin of China shown during the 2014 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // Xu Xin, the 2015 men’s champion and world No 3, will open his campaign against Yuya Oshima, the world No 25 from Japan, as he defends his Table Tennis Asian Cup crown this weekend in Dubai.

Xin, who also won the Asian Cup gold medal in 2012 and 2013, will later meet world No 14 Jung Young-sik of South Korea and Chiang Hung-chieh in the opening day’s group matches at the Dubai World Trade Centre’s Zabeel Hall 1 today, the opening day of the Nakheel Table Tennis Asian Cup.

Feng Tianwei, the defending women’s champion and world No 7, will open her campaign against Chen Szu-yu of Chinese Taipei and later meet No 10 Mima Ito and Jiang Huajun after being drawn in Pool 3 of the women’s draw.

• Read more: Ahmed Rizvi – 2016 Table Tennis Asian Cup to serve up ranking points ahead of Olympics qualification

• Also see: 2016 Asian Cup Table Tennis in Dubai: Your guide to the event

Liu Shiwen, the women’s world No 1, has been drawn in Pool 1 alongside Miu Hirano of Japan, Tie Yana of Hong Kong and Lee Zion of South Korea. Li Xiaoxia, the women’s singles gold medal winner at the 2012 London Olympic Games, has been drawn alongside Yang Hae-un of South Korea, Singapore’s Yu Mengyu and UAE No 1 Noura Al Maazmi.

The top two from each of these three groups will qualify directly for the last eight, while the other two quarter-final spots will be decided following a play-off between the winner of the fourth group, dubbed the Intercontinental Cup Group, and the three third-placed ladies in the main group. The men’s competition will follow the same format.

The women’s Intercontinental Group features India’s Manika Batra, the UAE’s Mayd Al Balooshi, Qatar’s Noora Mohamen and Suthasini Sawettabut of Thailand, while the men’s Intercontinental Group has UAE No 1 Abdulla Al Balooshi, India’s Soumyajit Ghosh, Nima Alamian of Iran and Singapore’s Clarence Chew Zheyu.

“As you know, the Asian Cup is a premier event on our Asian table tennis calendar and the top 16 men and top 16 women from around the continent will be here,” said Tony Yue, general secretary of Asian Table Tennis Union, at last night’s tournament draw at the Dragon Mart 2.

“Among us we have Olympic and World champions and many national champions. So I expect a spectacular show of table tennis in Dubai over the next three days. May the best man and the best woman win.”

FULL DRAW

Men

Group 1: Xu Xin (China, world No 3); Jung Young-sik (South Korea, No 14); Yuya Oshima (Japan, No 25); Chiang Hung-chieh (Chinese Taipei, No 72)

Group 2: Zhang Jike (China, world No 4); Wong Chun Ting (Hong Kong, No 11); Lee Sangsu (South Korea, No 16); Sharath Kamal Achanta (India, No 61)

Group 3: Chuang Chih-yuan (Chinese Taipei, world No 6); Jun Mizutani (Japan, No 7); Gao Ning (Singapore, No 27); Ho Kwan Kit (Hong Kong, No 52)

Group 4 (Intercontinental Cup Group)

Soumyajit Ghosh (India); Nima Alamian (Iran); Abdulla Al Balooshi (UAE); Clarence Chew Zheyu (Singapore)

Women

Group 1: Liu Shiwen (China, world No 1); Miu Hirano (Japan, No 19); Tie Yana (Hong Kong, No 20); Lee Zion (South Korea, No 87)

Group 2: Li Xiaoxia (China, world No 5); Yang Hae-un (South Korea, No 16); Yu Mengyu (Singapore, No 23); Noura Al Maazmi (UAE, unranked)

Group 3: Feng Tianwei (Singapore, World No 7); Mima Ito (Japan, No 10); Chen Szu-yu (Singapore, No 27); Jiang Huajun (Hong Kong, No 30)

Group 4 (Intercontinental Cup Group)

Noora Al Abri (Qatar); Manika Batra (India); Majd Al Balooshi (UAE); Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand)

*Top two from first three groups advance; 3rd Place Groups 1-3 plus Winner Group 4 go to play-offs for last two spots in quarter-finals.

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