Table tennis: Fabulous Fan dethrones Boll at top of men's rankings, Chen regains No. 1 women's spot from Zhu

China's Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng have clinched the men's and women's top positions respectively in the latest International Table Tennis Federation world rankings. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION

(REUTERS) - China's Fan Zhendong has taken over the global No. 1 spot for the first time in his career, after he replaced German Timo Boll in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) world rankings released on Tuesday (April 3).

And China's Chen Meng reclaimed the women's top position from compatriot Zhu Yuling after reaching the semi-finals in the Qatar Open.

Zhu endured a difficult Qatar tournament when she was knocked out at the last-32 stage by eventual champion Liu Shiwen, whose rose from 20th to 10th this month.

Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa and Singapore's Feng Tianwei stay third and fourth respectively.

The 21-year-old Fan, who had been the world No. 2 since Nov. 2015, claimed the Qatar title last month to earn enough ranking points to rise to the top.

"It is an amazing feeling to become the world No. 1, it has always been a big dream of mine," Fan, the 2017 world championships runner-up, said in a statement.

"I hope I can keep this position for a very long time." Boll, who at 36 became the oldest world No. 1 at the start of last month, drops to second, one place ahead of compatriot Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

Fan's compatriots Xu Xin and Lin Gaoyuan take the fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Reigning world and Olympic champion Ma Long, who slipped in the rankings due to inactivity in 2017, has moved back up to sixth after winning last week's German Open in Bremen.

Singapore's highest-ranked player, Gao Ning, dropped 14 places to 47th.

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