World Table Tennis Singapore Smash 2022: Preview, schedule, and how to watch

The inaugural World Table Tennis Grand Smash takes place in the Lion City from 11–20 March 2022 (with qualifying rounds from 7–9 March). Find out when you can catch stars like Fan Zhendong, Ma Long, Hugo Calderano, Chen Meng, and Ito Mima in action.

By ZK Goh
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The revolution in table tennis is here.

After a delay due to the pandemic, which limited the extent of the new World Table Tennis (WTT) structure during 2021, the inaugural WTT Grand Smash has landed and is ready to shake up the sport.

From 11–20 March, the world's top players will compete in the Singapore Smash 2022, the first top-tier event on the World Table Tennis calendar since it replaced the old ITTF World Tour last year.

The five-time Olympic gold medallist and two-time men's singles champion Ma Long headlines the field of players, which will include 18 of the world's top 20 men and 19 of the world's top 20 women.

Here's what to expect from the first-ever Grand Smash.

What is the Singapore Smash and WTT Grand Smash?

So what is World Table Tennis? Gone is the ITTF World Tour and its associated events, with World Table Tennis – the international federation's new events arm – taking its place.

The changes were announced in 2020, with an exhibition event taking place late that year in Macao, China. Last year, despite continuing challenges posed by the pandemic, the WTT managed to hold a number of events in hubs, at WTT Star Contender and WTT Contender level – the two tiers right below Grand Smashes.

WTT events included individual player entries to the field of play, an in-house deejay, a new playing area with new colours, and new camera angles. In order to present a more dynamic and colourful feel to the sport, players were also allowed to pick the colour of their paddle rubbers from a selection instead of sticking to the traditional red and black.

Another key change is that as a general rule, all matches will be best-of-five instead of the traditional best-of-seven, with only main draw singles semi-finals and finals being played to best-of-seven.

In other words, changes made to make table tennis more appealing. Singapore will, however, host the first Grand Smash – the very top-tier of the new structure.

It is table tennis's answer to golf's major tournaments or tennis's four Grand Slams. Indeed, the original vision for WTT imagined four Grand Smashes a year – two in Asia, one in Europe, and one elsewhere.

They will see 64 men and women in the main draw, 24 men's and women's doubles teams, and 16 mixed doubles pairings in each event – and this will be the case in Singapore. Eight athletes in each of the singles competitions will also come through the qualifying rounds, which in Singapore will take place from 7–9 March.

Players to watch at Singapore Smash

Unsurprisingly, given the magnitude of the event, the world's best players have shown up in droves. The world's top 50 singles players in both men's and women's event were given automatic entry, although a few – including men's world number six and Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Dmitrij Ovtcharov of Germany, men's world number 18 Jeoung Youngsik of Korea Republic, and China's women's world number 16 Zhu Yuling have withdrawn due to injury and other reasons.

That, however, doesn't dampen the superstar power on show, which includes the traditional powerhouse team from China featuring Olympic singles champions Ma Long and Chen Meng and world champions Fan Zhendong and Wang Manyu.

Doubles world champions Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson of Sweden (men's), Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu (women), and Wang Chuqin and Sun (mixed) are all also in the fray.

There are a multitude of storylines for this inaugural Grand Smash, too. While many of the top-ranked players have already tasted success since the WTT's introduction, including Brazil's world number three Hugo Calderano becoming the first Latin American winner of a WTT event, other veterans – like Germany's Timo Boll, the eight-time European champion who's still going strong and will turn 41 before the main draw begins in Singapore, will be making their WTT bow.

On the women's side, home fans will get to see world number nine Feng Tianwei in action again, just three months after she reached the quarter-finals at the 2021 WTT Cup Finals that were also held in Singapore. Japan's Ito Mima will once again be one of the big threats to Chinese dominance – but the mixed doubles Olympic champion will not be competing in that event, following the retirement of her partner Mizutani Jun.

Instead, Japan's mixed doubles charge will be led by Harimoto Tomokazu, the 18-year-old who in his short career has already broken all sorts of table tennis records, and Hayata Hina.

Africa will look to Nigeria's Quadri Aruna, who at world number 11 is the highest-ranked player from his continent ever, while Luxembourg's Sarah de Nutte and 58-year-old Ni Xialian will hope to spring some surprises in the women's doubles.

WTT Singapore Smash 2022 Schedule

All times are Singapore Standard Time (UTC +8 hours) and subject to change.

Monday 7 March
10:00 and 17:00: Men's and Women's Singles Qualifying round of 64

Tuesday 8 March
10:00: Men's and Women's Singles Qualifying round of 64
17:00: Men's and Women's Singles Qualifying round of 32

Wednesday 9 March
10:00: Men's and Women's Singles Qualifying round of 32
17:00: Men's and Women's Singles Qualifying round of 16 (winners qualify for main draw)

Friday 11 March
13:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 64, Men's Doubles round of 24
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 64
18:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 64, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 24
19:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 64

Saturday 12 March
13:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 64, Men's Doubles round of 24
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 64
18:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 64, Mixed Doubles round of 16, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 24
19:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 64

Sunday 13 March
13:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 32, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 24
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 32
18:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 32, Mixed Doubles round of 16, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 16
19:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 32

Monday 14 March
13:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 32, Mixed Doubles quarter-finals, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 16
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 32
18:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 32, Mixed Doubles quarter-finals, Men's and Women's Doubles round of 16
19:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 32

Tuesday 15 March
13:30: Men's Singles round of 16, Men's and Women's Doubles quarter-finals
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 16, Mixed Doubles semi-final
18:30: Men's and Women's Singles round of 16, Men's Doubles quarter-finals
19:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles round of 16, Mixed Doubles semi-final

Wednesday 16 March
13:30: Men's and Women's Singles Round of 16, Men's and Women's Doubles semi-final
14:00 (Table 1): Men's and Women's Singles Round of 16, Men's and Women's Doubles semi-final
19:00: Men's and Women's Singles Round of 16, Mixed Doubles final

Thursday 17 March
14:00 and 19:00: Men's and Women's Singles quarter-finals

Friday 18 March
19:00: Women's Singles semi-finals, Men's Doubles final

Saturday 19 March
19:00: Men's Singles semi-finals, Women's Doubles final

Sunday 20 March
19:00: Men's and Women's Singles finals

The competition will be lived stream on WTT's website and mobile app, subject to local broadcaster rights.

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