Wed, 01 Dec 2021

HOUSTON, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Four of China's five elite athletes, including world No. 1 Fan Zhendong, will share a star-studded top half of the men's singles after the draw made for the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships here on Sunday.

Fan, who attended the draw ceremony alongside newly-crowned Olympic women's singles champion Chen Meng, will be joined by fifth seed Lin Gaoyuan, sixth seed Liang Jingkun and another compatriot Wang Chuqin in the upper half.

Japanese teenage sensation Tomokazu Harimoto joins rising Chinese Taipei star Lin Yun Ju, 2019 runner-up Swedish Mattias Falck and German table tennis evergreen Timo Boll in the opposite half.

In the women's singles draw, world No. 1 Chen, fourth seed Wang Manyu and their teammate Chen Xingtong are in the top half, while China's world No. 2 player Sun Yingsha joins another compatriot Wang Yidi, and world No. 3 Mima Ito of Japan in the opposite half of the draw.

China's Liang Jingkun/Lin Gaoyuan head the men's doubles event, with compatriots Fan Zhendong/Wang Chuqin, as well as 2019 runners-up Alvaro Robles of Spain pairing with Romania's Ovidiu Ionescu, placed in the same half of the draw.

South Korea's Jeon Jihee/Shin Yubin, the top-seeded pair in the women's doubles draw, and third seeds Nina Mittelham/Sabine Winter of Germany occupy positions 1 and 32 in the top half. Meanwhile, defending champions Sun Yingsha/Wang Manyu and Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa/Miu Hirano, seeded second, are placed in the opposite half.

It's not easy to hold such a tournament in the pandemic era, Fan said after drawing the lots, adding that he expects all players will cherish the opportunity to strive for the best results.

Chen said it's a pleasure to play the world's best players on the World's Table Tennis Championships.

"All the players are very strong and I wish all of them can get the best result," she said.

The 2021 World Table Tennis Championships are set to take place from Nov. 23 to 29 in Houston. It will be the first time the tournament will be held in the United States.

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