Just days away from the start of the team event for the New Zealand Senior Table Tennis Championships for 2012 and the Auckland Table Tennis Association have made all the preparations for the event, with the team draws, seedings and individual draws released to the players. The clash will begin for the individuals after the teams events and there will be hot competition.
|Top seed Teng Teng Liu|
In the mens seedings the top spot is held by defending champion Teng Teng Liu, who showed his class by dominating the field in Palmerston North last year. Phillip Xiao heads up the list at number 2, no doubt he will be looking to make a strong attempt to secure his first national men's title this year, after making the final in 2011. The first of the chinese players enter the seedings at number 3, Chang Bo and at number 4, Yuansen Yao. These players are bound to provide some exciting matches and a tough challenge for the top 2 seeds. It was almost surprising to see them in 3rd and 4th positions on the listings, we will have to see if they can project themselves even further up on the day.
Without a doubt there will be other players outside the top 4 seedings looking to make a good case for the win also. John Cordue, coming back after time spent playing in Germany, has already won this year's Otago and Waikato Opens and made a great fight for the Wellington Open. Looking much sharper and more experienced out on the table, he is sure to have a fighting chance at cracking the top 4 if things go his way. Oliver Scarlett is also one to cause upsets and will be looking to do the same again, having had success this year at the North Island Championships where he won the under 21 Mens Singles and also in Nelson where he became the South Island Champion, he has played fantastically so far this year, having only lost a minimal number of matches in singles events. The field also comprises of Yi-Sien Lin, a NZ rep at the Olympic Qualification and top 10 rated player and a number of other quality opponents including more chinese players and last year's bronze medallist Zhiyang Cheng.
The women's field was headed by Commonwealth Champion Li Chunli who appears to have since withdrawn from the event for reasons unknown. Timea Tapai will move in as the tournament favourite . A defensive player formerly from Serbia where she had been top 200 in the world rankings, even had Chunli been in the draw, Timea would have posed a strong threat to her and all other opponents. Vicky Yang is the next challenger in the seedings. The winner of the Counties Open and Auckland Open, 2010 National Champion and runner up in 2011. With a strong gamestyle Vicky has a strong chance of making a great finish and having a go at winning the title again in 2012. Sarah Her-Lee is the last player to be seeded in the top 4, with her experience from playing in Germany and also her victories in Waikato and Otago, will she be able to make the distance to the final and beyond? Other competition comes from all corners with former Commonwealth Games rep Sophie Shu back in the field along with 2009 Commonwealth Championships representative Michelle Mccarthy, Catherine Zhou also joining the fight with other top 10 ranked women, the likes of Natalie Paterson, Jessica Macaskill and Armindeep Singh to make appearances. Sara Hu and Si Zhuo Huo are 2 new players from China who have proved they are tough opposition also, they have strong chances of progressing through the draw and should be watched closely.
It is positive to see a draw full of amazing table tennis players, especially in the women's draw this year, the competition will be fierce and the results unknown. Wednesday marks the start of the teams event and the excitement begins. Good luck to all competing, I look forward to seeing you all there :)