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China favourites at Liebherr Men's World Cup

ITTF Press Release --

The Chinese trio who were instrumental in their country capturing the Menís World Cup Team title in Magdeburg, Germany on Sunday 7th October 2007 are the favourites for honours at the Liebherr Menís World Cup which starts in Barcelona, Spain on Friday 12th October and concludes with the final on Sunday 14th October 2007.

Wang Hao, the winner of the Menís Singles title at the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals in December 2006, and the player who currently occupies the number one spot on the ITTF Menís World Rankings, is the top seed.

Colleague Ma Lin, winner of the Menís World Cup title a record four times, is seeded two with Wang Liqin, the reigning Menís Singles World champion is seeded three.

Potentially, Germanyís Timo Boll is Europeís greatest threat to Chinese supremacy in Barcelona. He is seeded four and won the Menís World Cup title in 2002 and 2005; on the latter occasion beating Wang Liqin, Ma Lin and Wang Hao on his way to the title. However, he withdrew from the World Team Cup in Magdeburg one week ago through illness and certainly his preparations for the Liebherr Menís World Cup have been hampered.

Twice the champion and the record is the same for Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus. He succeeded in 1999 and 2001; alongside Timo Boll he leads the European challenge.

Meanwhile, the Korean contingent could well have a bearing on the occasion with Oh Sang, Ryu Seung Min and Joo Se Hyuk on duty. Oh Sang Eun was well below his best form at last weekís World Team Cup in Magdeburg whilst Joo Se Hyuk excelled and if there is a man for the big occasion; then it is Ryu Seung Min.

Just ask Wang Hao about Ryu Seung Min; in World Ranking events at senior level they have played each other thirteen times. Ryu Seung Min has won once, the occasion, the Menís Singles final at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

Play starts with matches in the group stage, the eight players who finish first and second in each group progress to the knock-out stage with the losing semi-finalists competing for the bronze medal.

Group One
Wang Hao (China), Ryu Seung Min (KOR), Chuan Chih-Yuan (TPE), William Henzell (AUS)

Group Two
Ma Lin (CHN), Gao Ning (SIN), Joo Se HYuk (KOR), Marc Duran (ESP)

Group Three
Wang Liqin (CHN), Vladimir Samsonov (BLR), Liu Song (ARG), Ahmed Ali Saleh (EGY)

Group Four
Timo Boll (GER), Oh Sang Eun (KOR), Wener Schlager (AUT), Pradeeban Peter-Paul (CAN)


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