T2 Apac ropes in world no. 4 Mizutani
Their last meeting was at the Olympics men's singles bronze-medal match in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last August.
Then, Japan's Jun Mizutani beat Belarussian Vladimir Samsonov 4-1 (11-4, 11-9, 6-11, 14-12, 11-8) to finish third, behind champion Ma Long and runner-up Zhang Jike, both from China.
Mizutani and Samsonov are set to cross swords again soon, or maybe even play on the same team, in the inaugural season of the T2 Asia-Pacific Table Tennis League (T2 Apac).
The Japanese world No. 4 was yesterday confirmed a participant of the new mixed-team invitational tournament, which will take place from June to December in Hong Kong.
"We are delighted to have Mizutani on board T2 Apac," said T2 Apac chief executive and commissioner Jeff Chue.
"The Japanese No. 1 is undoubtedly a superb addition to the league and he will thrill and excite fans with his outstanding gameplay which has set him apart from many of his peers.
"He possesses great character both on and off the table, and we are excited at the prospect of working with him to reveal much more of the personality behind all that technical brilliance."
The tournament now has 14 confirmed participants, including Singapore's No. 1 Feng Tianwei, South-east Asia Games women's singles champion Suthasini Saweetabut and England's Paul Drinkhall.
The organisers said they will unveil the remaining 10 players - four women and six men - in the 24-strong line-up in the coming weeks.
The New Paper also previously reported that the T2 Apac organisers are in talks with the world's top paddlers, and have plans to sign Chinese players.
CONFIRMED LIST OF PLAYERS
Feng Tianwei (Singapore), Cheng I-ching, Chen Chien-an (both from Taiwan), Paul Drinkhall (England), Elizabeta Samara (Romania), Vladimir Samsonov (Belarus), Joo Saehyuk, Yang Ha Eun, Jeon Jihee (all from South Korea), Aleksandr Shibaev (Russia), Georgina Pota (Hungary), Matilda Ekholm (Sweden), Suthasini Sawettabut (Thailand), Jun Mizutani (Japan).