This year the World Championships was bigger and better than ever before! From May 29th to June 5th, we were treated to an incredible show by the DTTB German hosts Düsseldorf in west Germany. A total of 606 players headed to the Messe Düsseldorf arena for the biggest event of the year! TableTennisDaily’s Dan was lucky enough to attend the event and was given behind the scenes access to watch the matches, meet the pros and organisers, conduct vlogs, record training hall footage for the ITTF and lots more.


Ma Long GOLD, Fan Zhendong SILVER, Xu Xin & Lee Sangsu BRONZE!

The opening ceremony event and the draw kicked off the championships with a bang. Fans were treated to a presentation inside the on-site football stadium and a discussion between the ITTF representatives as well as the players thoughts of the matches ahead. Dimitrij Ovtcharov joked about how it would be difficult to beat the players stood beside him when referring to Ma Long, Zhang Jike, Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong. He was proven to be right…

Words by Tom Lewis
Matches began on Monday the 29th with players outside of the seeding and direct entry list looking to qualify for the main draw which started on the 31st. The qualification stage saw some intense matches as players fought for their chance to play in the main arena on the show tables. Players had to play in an initial group stage followed by a preliminary round match before reaching the round of 128 main draw. It was tougher than ever to qualify for the main draw with hundreds of matches and athletes going for the same goal.

The main draw started on the 31st for the Men’s and women’s single’s event. The top players were excited to play in front of the big crowds inside the main arena on the big show courts. Xu Xin said after his initial match win against Tomas Polansky ‘In the past, I would have a relaxed attitude toward the first match, but with this match, I'm learning to play under pressure.”

The 1st of June led to the main draw reaching the last 64 stages in the singles. The top seeds seemed to comfortably progress with Ma Long defeating the Swedish youngster Anton Kallberg 4-2. The doubles event also was exciting to watch with match of the day being between Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong against Ma Long and Timo Boll. It won in a close contest between the former pairing from China who went on to win the event.

The main draw narrowed further over the next couple of days and seeds began to fall. The last 32 matches for the men included Freitas beating Flore 4-3 in a huge battle. Freitas said after the match ‘I had always pressure and was a little bit fighting with myself. In the last set it was fifty-fifty, I fighted very good and survived.” Lee Sangsu had an amazing tournament with wins over Zhang Jike, Vladimir Samsonov and Wong Chun Ting. Lee said “It’s my first time in quarter-final of World Championship. Im very, very, happy. I only thought about one point and one point and attack and attack. I was good today, but Samsonov was so so. I only attacked and he seemed slow.”

In the quarter finals, the top seed Ma Long played his doubles partner Timo Boll and won a close match 4-2. Ma long after the match “I mostly just told myself not to give up. Even though I was behind four to eight, but the match still wasn’t over, that was my first thought. Although netballs might be very important, luck is also part of the competition. You cannot change it, so I just tried to stabilize my mental game.” Tomokazu Harimoto fell in the quarters to Xu Xin the number 3 seed. The youngster showed his incredible skill at just 13 years old throughout the tournament and that he is definitely one to look out for in the future.

The semi-finals saw Ma Long Defeat Xu Xin 4-0 and Fan Zhendong beat the inform Lee Sangsu 4-0. This meant an all Chinese final between the best 2 players in the world! The match was won by the defending champion Ma Long 4-3, after he was down 7-9 in the 7th set but came back to win 12-10. Ma Long reflected on the match saying, “It’s the craziest final in which I’ve ever played; I’ll always remember today.”


Men's Singles Final between Ma Long and Fan Zhendong!

Medal winners

Also be sure to check out our daily vlogs on our YouTube channel which can be found here, please don’t forget to like and subscribe.

Take a look back at all the news from the 2017 World Championships on TTD here.! Catch up with all the latest highlighted matches in the TTD Video Library and watch all the very latest training hall videos here.

Like and tweet our articles to the World. Lets spread the word of Table Tennis.
Photos by: ITTF Flickr
Written by: Tom Lewis