England’s men have been handed some challenging matches in the draw for the World Championships, while Tin-Tin Ho faces the eighth seed (WR 10).
Ho will certainly have hoped for a kinder draw in the Women’s Singles round of 128 than against world No 10 and eighth seed Ying Han of Germany, arguably the best defensive player in the world.
They have met twice before and Ho has not taken a game off her opponent, losing in a European Team Championships qualifying tie against Germany in 2016 and also at the 2019 Bulgarian Open.
In the Men’s Singles, Liam Pitchford is seeded 21st and will open his campaign in Durban against world No 46 Joao Geraldo of Portugal. They have met once before, Pitchford winning at the 2018 European Championships.
The winner will face Marcos Madrid of Mexico (WR 97) or Canada’s Jeremy Hazin (WR 193) in the second round and, if all goes to seeding, 16th seed Patrick Franziska of Germany (WR 17) awaits in the last 32.
National champion Tom Jarvis has been drawn to face Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (WR 51) – and the winner will likely face European champion Qiu Dang of Germany in the second round.
Jarvis has met Gnanasekaran twice, both times on his opponent’s home soil, with the Indian winning at both the 2015 and 2019 Commonwealth Championships.
Sam Walker meets 26th seed Wong Chun Ting (WR 30) of Hong Kong – they are in the same quadrant as top seed Fan Zhendong, so Walker could potentially face him in the last 32.
Paul Drinkhall will play Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo in the first round. He has happy memories of facing his opponent, whom he beat 3-0 (11-4, 11-2 ,11-4) in the Commonwealth Games bronze medal match in Birmingham last summer, sealing the medal for England.
Victory would see him likely to face Germany’s 27th seed Benedikt Duda (WR 32).
In the Men’s Doubles, 14th seeds Pitchford & Drinkhall wil be aiming to go at least one better than their quarter-final appearance last time out in Houston.
They begin their quest against David Serdaroglu & Alexander Chen of Austria in the last 64, while Walker will again face Wong Chun Ting – he and Jarvis are up against Wong & Ho Kwan Kit of Hong Kong, who are the 11th seeds.
In the Women’s Doubles, Ho is alongside regular partner Karoline Mischek of Austria, and they start against Janet Mwelwa & Latifa Nalavwe of Zambia.
In the Mixed Doubles, twice Commonwealth Games silver medallists Pitchford & Ho face 13th seeds Lubomir Pistej & Barbora Balazova of Slovakia in the last 64.