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December World Ranking: Chinese Teenagers Progress

It is the teenage players from China who have made the most notable progress in the latest ITTF Menís and Womenís World Ranking lists issued on Thursday 1st December 2005.

Seventeen year old MA Long climbs to no.21 in the menís 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 Taipeiís, CHUAN Chih-Yuan, Koreaís OH Sang Eun and Germanyís Timo BOLL, whilst in Gothenburg he overcame the two players who reached the final of the Menís Singles event at the 2003 Liebherr World Table Tennis Championships, Koreaís JOO Se Hyuk and Austriaís Werner SCHLAGER.

Steady Progress
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 Womenís 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 Womenís Singles event at the Liebherr German Open beating Koreaís KIM Kyung Ah in the semi-finals, whilst at the Liebherr Swedish Open she reached the third round where KIM Kyung Ahís colleague, LEE Eun Hee, ended progress. CHANG Chenchen reached the third round of the Womenís 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 Womenís 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 Sloveniaís Martina SAFRAN, Hong Kongís SONG Ah Sim and colleague,CHANG Chenchen to reach the semi-final stage where in seven games she lost to CAO Zhen.

Notable progress in the top fifty of the ITTF World Ranking lists for the young Chinese players whilst for their colleague, ZHANG Chao, he appears just outside the top fifty in the menís list at no.58 having been ranked no.74 in November 2005.

Meanwhile, for the more experienced brigade Belgiumís Jean-Michel SAIVE, who celebrated his thirty-sixth birthday the day before the Liebherr Swedish Open commenced, is back in the top ten. A return to the highest echelon is mainly as a result of his heroic performances on the ITTF Pro Tour in Gothenburg, where he reached the final of the Menís Singles event with wins over Koreaís LIM Jae Hyun, Italyís YANG Min and the Dominican Republicís LIN Ju followed by success against Trinko KEEN of the Netherlands and Chinaís LIU Guozheng.

SAIVE lost in the final to Timo BOLL who retains his no.2 ranked position behind Chinaís WANG Liqin whilst Vladimir SAMSONOV of Belarus, the winner of the Menís Singles event at the Liebherr German Open moves up two places to n.3. Also in good form at the Liebherr German Open was the host nationís Zoltan FEJER-KONNERTH, he reached the semi-final of the Menís Singles event and as a direct result moves from no.46 to no.38 whilst than man he beat in the quarter-finals in Magdeburg, Serbiaís Aleksandar KARAKASEVIC, also progresses, he moves from no.60 to no.45.

Progress for a group of more experienced players in the Menís World Ranking list and it is also the same in the Womenís list. Hungaryís Krisztina T”TH, winner of the Womenís Singles event at the Eurosib Russian Open moves up seven places to no.19 whilst Germanyís Nicole STRUSE, who reached the quarter-final stage of the Womenís Singles event at the Liebherr German Open and the third round at the Liebherr Swedish Open, is now at no.24, having been ranked no.30 in November 2005.

A higher position than one month earlier for Nicole STRUSE and the same scenario for her new found national team colleague, WU Jiaduo, the player who gained German nationality in November 2005. She moves from no.52 to no.39.

Also entering the top fifty is Japanís Saki KANAZAWA at no.40 and Koreaís LEE Eun Hee at no.42 whilst cementing her place in the top fifty is Italyís Nicoletta STEFANOVA, she moves five places higher to no.45.

Under 21 & Under 18 Rankings
Meanwhile, in the Under 21 Menís Ranking list, Chinaís CHEN Qi and Koreaís LEE Jung Woo retain first and second places respectively with MA Long moving to no.3. In the Under 18 Boysí Ranking list, MA Long remains at no.1 with Japanís Jun MIZUTANI retaining his number two position, ahead of compatriot Seiya KISHIKAWA who progresses one place to no.3.

Chinese players are dominant in the male rankings and they are even more dominant in the counterpart womenís lists where the top three positions are both the same and all are occupied by Chinese players. GUO Yue who is ranked no.2 on the ITTF Womenís Ranking list behind Olympic and World champion, ZHANG Yining, is at number one on the Under 21 and Under 18 lists, whilst CAO Zhen and LI Xiaoxia change places. CAO Zhen is now at no.2 with LI Xiaoxia n.3.

Image: MA Long, a young man who is making major progress

Courtesy of ITTF

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