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"The 2018 Australian Open will be staged in Geelong, Victoria from the 24-29 July. As part of the 2018 Seamaster ITTF World Tour, the Platinum Series event will see the world’s best table tennis players coming to Australia to compete for over 315,000USD in prize money."

 The top Chinese players Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xue Xin together with the former world champion Zhang Jike who is on the comeback trail, will try to get revenge on Japanese wonder kid Tomokazu Harimoto. Tomo has beaten all the Chinese players in the last two months which is almost unheard of.

 In Geelong, only 3 players from the top 20 in the world will be missing. They are from Hong Kong and the tall Karlson Swedes. I just hope the Chinese don't do a runner like in 2017. If Harimoto wins the Aussie Open, it will confirm his precocious talent and no doubt the Chinese will be stressed out that a competitive player has appeared on the scene to challenge their world dominance. What is more poignant is that Tomo's parents were state level players from China, probably felt piqued for missing out on national selection so now they've produced a son that will win world and gold medals for Japan. That will teach 'em!

Australia has two players David Powell and Heming Hu ranked less than 200 but in the new ranking system, these players received nearly the same number of  points in the Oceania championships as Ma Long did playing in the mainstream events. Nevertheless, in the recent Commonwealth Games Heming demonstrated great quickness and skill taking games off India's Achanta. He is one local to keep an eye out for.

My predictions are Fan Zhendong to win it from Ma Long or Harimoto depending on which half of the draw they are seeded in. The Chinese hate losing and have probably analyzed Tomo's competition videos to death and practised against similar styled players or trained a top player to adopt Harimoto's playing style to practise tactics against. They have the assistance of at least three coaches who were all previous world level champions. Their problem is not to find someone to coach their players but to cull the plethora of ideas and tactics on how to beat the Japanese kid.

This tournament is so exciting that I've already bought the air and accommodation bookings. 

 Note - click on any player's name to view their profile. Click the table link where you can buy tickets and apply to be a volunteer at the event. Apologies to our female fans for not discussing the women's entries but they are just as incredible.

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VERSUS

 

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Player Cntry WR Points WR Position
FAN Zhendong CHN 17226 1
MA Long CHN 15840 2
OVTCHAROV Dimitrij GER 15815 3
LIN Gaoyuan CHN 14964 5
XU Xin CHN 14935 6
LEE Sangsu KOR 13284 8
NIWA Koki JPN 13065 9
HARIMOTO Tomokazu JPN 13034 10
CALDERANO Hugo BRA 12680 11
GAUZY Simon FRA 12503 12
MIZUTANI Jun JPN 12285 13
MATSUDAIRA Kenta JPN 11655 14
CHUANG Chih-Yuan TPE 11160 15
FREITAS Marcos POR 11094 16
ASSAR Omar EGY 10878 17
ARUNA Quadri NGR 10300 22
LIM Jonghoon KOR 10107 23
UEDA Jin JPN 10107 23
FRANZISKA Patrick GER 9936 25
YOSHIDA Masaki JPN 9828 27
YOSHIMURA Maharu JPN 9612 30
FANG Bo CHN 9303 32
JANG Woojin KOR 8894 34
CHEN Chien-An TPE 8739 35
OSHIMA Yuya JPN 8733 36
GACINA Andrej CRO 8106 39
APOLONIA Tiago POR 8067 40
JEOUNG Youngsik KOR 8028 42
DUDA Benedikt GER 8016 43
GNANASEKARAN Sathiyan IND 8009 44
LIAO Cheng-Ting TPE 7827 46
ACHANTA Sharath Kamal IND 7824 47
WALTHER Ricardo GER 7797 48
NUYTINCK Cedric BEL 7629 52
LIN Yun-Ju TPE 7266 54
MORIZONO Masataka JPN 7206 55
ROBLES Alvaro ESP 6998 56
GAO Ning SGP 6929 59
KIM Donghyun KOR 6753 62
PISTEJ Lubomir SVK 6318 66
YOSHIMURA Kazuhiro JPN 5841 75
KALLBERG Anton SWE 5835 77
DESAI Harmeet IND 5543 81
DYJAS Jakub POL 5458 83
PUCAR Tomislav CRO 5296 86
ZHOU Yu CHN 5280 87
LAMBIET Florent BEL 5279 88
TAZOE Kenta JPN 5007 92
YAN An CHN 4905 95
ROBINOT Quentin FRA 4890 96
WANG Chuqin CHN 4888 97
ZHANG Jike CHN 4651 102
SHETTY Sanil IND 4434 108
UDA Yukiya JPN 4411 110
LANDRIEU Andrea FRA 3809 130
POWELL David AUS 3804 131
XUE Fei CHN 3726 133
ANTHONY Amalraj IND 3696 135
MINO Alberto ECU 3472 142
ALLEGRO Martin BEL 3395 146
RUMGAY Gavin SCO 3202 151
YANG Heng-Wei TPE 3162 154
HU Heming AUS 2499 178
HIRANO Yuki JPN 2410 180
JIN Takuya JPN 2340 184
SHU Dean NZL 2106 200
AN Jaehyun KOR 2095 201
TOWNSEND Kane AUS 1973 217
CHO Daeseong KOR 1915 221
ABREFA Derek GHA 1656 240
THAKKAR Manav Vikash IND 1615 243
ZHOU Qihao CHN 1460 260
SIRISENA Rohan SRI 725 400
LEE Chia-Sheng TPE 492 465
SAM Bernard GHA 320 588
ARINOBU Taimu JPN 300 605
MA Victor NZL 240 642
CNUDDE Florian BEL 59 933
ZHANG Shaoping ^^ AUS 57 935
ZHAO Anthony AUS 35 964
GOULD Benjamin AUS 25 977
LARTEY Felix GHA 10 1048
MENG Qi ^^ NZL    
XU Nathan NZL    
AMOR Kelsey NZL    
DIXON Xavier AUS    
ZHANG Raymond AUS    
LUU Finn AUS    
KIM James ^^ AUS    
VON EINEM Samuel AUS    
LUM Nicholas AUS    
LEE Seonghun ^^ AUS    
LUU Skyy AUS    

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