*By Therese Tu
Local player Cheong Chi Cheng failed to defeat world ranking No.1 player Fan Zhendong 0-3 (11-9, 11-9, 11-6), in the first match of men singles this evening (Wednesday) at WTT Champions Macao 2021 China Stars (WTT Macao 2021).
The championship this year is a showcase with no world-ranking points, featuring a star-studded team from mainland China, including Olympic champions Ma Long, Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong, Chen Meng, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Liu Shiwen, as well as other rising stars such as local player Cheong Chi Cheng plus Hong Kong players Doo Hei Kem and Lam Siu Hang.
As the first local player participating in the WTT Macao series, Cheong stated he “really enjoyed the atmosphere of WTT Macao 2021” as larger tournament than others he had participated in before.
“It was a great opportunity to compete with Fan Zhendong and I really enjoyed the match. Due to the pandemic, many opportunities were lost. Participating in WTT Macau for the first time, I felt a bit nervous, but it went better after a while.”
Main tournament sponsor Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) expressed Monday in a Facebook post that the championship taking place at Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion would “surely take Macau’s sports tourism to new heights”.
WTT was founded as the commercial and events company of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
The first event held since its inception, WTT Macao 2020, obtained the support and recognition of the ITTF, which allowed for more major international table tennis events to be held in Macau.
“The Chinese team trained in Macau in March 2020. WTT also had its first showcase in Macau last year where we deeply felt the passion and support of the local crowd for table tennis,” Ma Long -widely regarded as the greatest table tennis player of all time- said in a previous press conference.
The first two matchdays (January 19 and 20) will feature Round of 16 matches in all categories. Quarterfinals in all categories will be held on 21 January. The penultimate day (22 January) will see the semifinals and final of mixed doubles, as well as the quarterfinals in men’s and women’s singles.
On the last day (January 23), the semifinals and finals of the men’s and women’s singles will take place.