Fabulous Fan dethrones Boll, goes top of the world

Reuters
China's Fan Zhendong has taken over the global No. 1 spot for the first time in his career.
Reuters

CHINA’S Fan Zhendong has taken over the global No. 1 spot for the first time in his career after he replaced German Timo Boll in the latest International Table Tennis Federation world rankings released yesterday.

The 21-year-old Fan, who had been the world No. 2 since November 2015, claimed the Qatar Open last month to earn enough ranking points to rise to the top.

“It is an amazing feeling to become the world No. 1, it has always been a big dream of mine,” Fan, the 2017 world championships runner-up, said in a statement.

“I hope I can keep this position for a very long time.”

Boll, who at 36 became the oldest world No. 1 at the start of last month, drops to No. 2, one place ahead of compatriot Dimitrij Ovtcharov. Fan’s compatriots Xu Xin and Lin Gaoyuan take the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Reigning world and Olympic champion Ma Long, who slipped in the rankings due to inactivity in 2017, has moved back up to No. 6 after winning last week’s German Open in Bremen. Fan’s playing style is often compared to Ma’s.

China’s Chen Meng reclaimed the women’s world No. 1 spot from compatriot Zhu Yuling after reaching the semifinals in Qatar.

Zhu endured a difficult tournament in Doha when she was knocked out at the last-32 stage by eventual champion Liu Shiwen, who rose from 20th to 10th this month.

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