The 2011 World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands is set to kick off with the first competition being in the mixed doubles. There are 202 pairs entered. The mixed doubles main draw consists of the final 128. The top 96 entrants as measured by ITTF world ranking are directly seeded into the main draw. The other 106 pairs have to go through qualification to decide which 32 of them can join them in the main draw. Eighty-four (84) of these have to go through mixed doubles qualification knock out (KO) round 1. This will eliminate forty-two (42) pairs and leave sixty-four (64) pairs to go through mixed doubles qualification knock out (KO) round 2. This stage will decide which thirty-two (32) mixed doubles pairs joins the ninety-six (96) directly entered.
The USA has three pairs entered in the mixed doubles:
- Ariel and Mark Hazinski
- Lily and Timothy Wang
- Erica Wu and Michael Landers
Ariel and Mark are seeded between 65 and 96 and thus they have been placed directly in the mixed doubles main draw. However, they will be facing the #53 seeds from Australia in their first match. But this won't happen until 7:45PM May 9th local time in Rotterdam (Rotterdam is nine hours ahead of us so that is 10:45AM Sunday morning here).
Lily and Timothy are seeded between 97 and 117 and thus have a bye in the mixed doubles qualification KO round 1 and their first match will be in the mixed doubles qualification KO round 2 at 3:30PM May 8th local time in Rotterdam (6:30AM Sunday morning here).
However Erica and Michael are seeded between 118 and 202 and thus they must go through mixed doubles qualification KO round 1 at 10:30AM May 8th local time in Rotterdam (1:30 AM May 8th here --- which is in about 10 minutes). If they should win this match they will then join Lily and Timothy in playing mixed doubles qualification round 2 at 6:30AM Sunday morning here.
The next event on the agenda is men's singles qualification. Similar to the mixed doubles, the top ninety-six based on ITTF world ranking will be directly seeded into the main draw (the round of 128). The other entrants must go through a RR followed by two knock-out rounds to make it to the main draw. None of the USA entrants:
- Mark Hazinski
- Adam Hugh
- Timothy Wang
- Michael Landers
- Fan Yiyong
are seeded high enough to avoid having to go through qualifications. Them must win their 3W RR group (probably having to win both matches) and succeeding that the two knock out rounds to reach the main draw of the final 128.
Their first round of their RR groups are scheduled from 11:30AM to 1PM on May 8th (2:30AM to 4AM here). In fact it is Michael Landers who has the 11:30AM match so he will have to hustle over after the completion of his mixed doubles match started just an hour earlier. Due to Fan Yiyong's lack of an ITTF world ranking, his second round of his RR group will be later on May 8th at 5:15PM local time (8:15AM here). The other USA men will play their 2nd round match tomorrow May 9th at between 10AM and 10:45AM local time (1AM to 1:45AM Monday morning here).
For those that can finish 1st in their RR group, the 1st KO stage awaits at 2:30PM on May 9th (5:30AM Monday morning here). The winners here go on to the 2nd KO stage at 5:30PM on May 9th (8:30AM Monday here). Anybody successful here has progressed to join the top 96 seeds in the main draw (the round of 128).
The next thing on the agenda is the women's doubles qualification KO round 1. The main draw for this event only has sixty-four (64) pairs. The top 48 pairs by ITTF world ranking are directly seeded into the main draw. All other women's doubles entrants have to go through a series of KO stages to reach the main draw. The bottom ten seeds have to go through three such stages. The other fifty-nine pairs will have to go through just two KO stages.
The USA has two entries in Women's Doubles:
- Ariel and Lily
- Prachi and Erica
Ariel and Lily are seeded between 33 and 48 and thus are seeded directly into the main draw of 64. However, once again the first match will be against a higher seeded pair in the #22 seeds from Germany. This match won't take place until 6PM on Tuesday, May 10th local time (9AM Tuesday here).
However, Prachi and Erica are seeded in the bottom 10 of all women's doubles entrants (Prachi's good results at the recent French Junior Open have not yet been reflected in her rating) so they will have to successfully go through three KO stages before joining Ariel and Lily in the main draw. The first of these is at 1PM May 8th (4AM Sunday morning here). The second and third KO stages are at 3:15PM and 6:15PM May 9th local time, respectively (6:15 and 9:15 Monday morning here).
The next thing on the agenda is the women's singles qualification groups. Similar as the men, none of the USA women:
- Judy Hugh
are seeded high enough (i.e. among the top 96) to avoid having to go through the qualification stages to reach the main draw of 128 ---although Ariel and Lily were quite close. In fact the high seeding of Ariel and Lily mean they don't play in the 1st stage of their RR group and don't start play in this event until the 2nd stage at 6:45PM on May 8th local time (9:45 Sunday morning here). Their last stage of the RR is 12:15PM on May 9th local time (3:15 Monday morning here).
Erica, Prachi, and Judy have their first match of the RR in its first stage at from 1:45PM to 2:30PM May 8th local time (4:45 tg 5:30 Sunday morning here). Prachi's and Judy's ITTF world ranking are low enough that their play in the RR will conclude in the 2nd state at 6:45PM May 8th local time (9:45 Sunday morning here). Erica's will conclude in the 3rd stage of the RR like Ariel and Lily at 1PM on May 9th local time (4:00 Monday morning here).
Any that finish first in their RR group will advance to the women's singles qualification KO round 1 stage at 4:45PM May 9th local time (7:45 Tuesday morning here). Winners here will join the 96 others in the main draw --- the first round of which starts at 11:15AM on May 10th local time (2:15 Tuesday morning here).
The last thing on the agenda for Sunday May 8th is the men's doubles qualification knock-out stage 1. As with the women's doubles, only 64 pairs are in the main draw --- with the pairs with the top 48 ITTF world ranking seeded directly into the main draw. The others have to go through a series of knock-out (KO) stages to get there. Neither of the USA men's pairs:
- Mark Hazinski and Timothy Wang
- Adam Hugh and Michael Landers
is seeded high enough to avoid having to go through the qualification KO stages. In fact, both have to go through all three KO stages successfully to reach the main draw. The first at from 8:15PM to 8:45PM May 8th local time (11:15 Sunday morning here), the second at 4:15PM May 9th (7:15 Monday morning here), and the last at 6:45PM May 9th local time (9:45 Monday morning here).
While I have been writing this post, the USA has already got off to a resounding start. Michael Landers and Erica Wu won their mixed doubles KO round 1 match 3-0 and then Michael proceeded to win his opening men's singles qualification RR match 4-0. Fan Yiyong just won his opening men's singles qualification RR match 4-0 also (although all games were close). And Timothy is leading his opening men's singles qualification RR match 3-0. These are the only matches involving USA players that have taken place so far. Mark and Adam's men's singles qualification RR matches won't start for another 15 minutes or so as will Prachi and Erica's women's doubles match. A bit later the women's singles qualification RR matches will start.
Hard to imagine a better start for the USA though... You can follow the results at: http://www.ittf.com/competitions/competitions2.asp?Competition_ID=1962&category=Vwcup