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This is a developing story and will be updated as ITTF /WTT presents more information.
WTT/ITTF has released the main draw for WTT Contender at WTT Doha, and by far the biggest thing that stands out is the unfairness of the draw. Certain round of 32 match-ups will feature two players who should be seeded in the top 16, while other match-ups will feature two unseeded players from the qualifying draw. WTT has so far released no explanation or press release to explain the sudden change in the drawing process.
Update: WTT has explained the draw system on Instagram. All seeds outside of the top eight were treated randomly. Seeds five through eight are still treated equally and will be randomly matched up with a top four seed in the quarterfinals. The goal is to “introduce new innovations” and make matches “unpredictable”. It appears that both players and fans were largely unaware of the rule change until today, when the draws were released and the explanation was posted. However, national governing bodies were apparently made aware of the change at the start of the tournament
Who is getting screwed over by the rule change?
In the women’s singles, in the round of 32, which in principle should feature top 16 seeds versus bottom 16 seeds, eleventh seed Bernadette Szocs will play second seed Cheng I-Ching, twelfth seed Britt Eerland will face top seed Mima Ito and thirteenth seed Lily Zhang will face third seed Kasumi Ishikawa. Needless to say, Britt Eerland is not happy.
If any of Ito, Cheng, or Ishikawa suffer an upset, she will almost have some words to say about the draw as well.
In the men’s singles, in the round of 32, ninth Lee Sangsu will be facing off against tenth seed Robert Gardos, thirteenth seed Chuang Chih-Yuan will have to play top seed Tomokazu Harimoto, fourteenth seed Jonathan Groth has to play seventh seed Simon Gauzy, thirteenth seed Kristian Karlsson will play fifteenth seed Darko Jorgic.
Looking Past the First Round
After the first round, things look to be a bit more reasonable. In the women’s singles, Kasumi Ishikawa has to be happy that she drew Cheng I-Ching in the semi-finals, giving her a chance to defeat Cheng in the semi-finals and take the fourth seed from her. In the men’s singles, Lin Yun-ju should also be satisfied that he drew Hugo Calderano in the semi-finals for similar reasons.