Ma Long will defend his Olympic title in Tokyo ©Getty Images

China's Ma Long has learnt the potential route he will have to take when he defends his Olympic men's table tennis title here at Tokyo 2020.

The 32-year-old Rio 2016 champion - seeded second in the men's singles - is on course to meet Sweden's Mattias Falck in the quarter-finals if all goes to form.

Ma beat Falck in the final of the 2019 World Championships in Budapest, as he completed a hat-trick of global singles titles.

If he gets through that he could then meet London 2012 bronze medallist Dimitrij Ovtcharov of Germany in the last four, or Brazil's number four seed Hugo Calderano.

On the other side of the draw, China's top seed Fan Zhendong looks set to meet Germany's Timo Boll in the last eight.

He could then face an intriguing clash with Japanese 18-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto in the last four.

In the women's competition, China's top seed Chen Meng may also face a home player in the semi-finals with Japanese number four seed Kasumi Ishikawa a likely opponent.

Chen Meng is the top seed in the women's tournament ©Getty Images
Chen Meng is the top seed in the women's tournament ©Getty Images

It is a similar situation for China's second seed Sun Yingsha, who is on a collision course to the last four with Japan's third seed Mima Ito.

All of the top singles players will enter in the third round so will have to wait to see who their first opponents will be.

The dominant Chinese have won every single men's and women's team gold medal contested at the Olympics and will be huge favourites to double up again.

China's men will open their account against Egypt, with the women facing Austria in round one.

Table tennis at Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to take place at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium between July 24 and August 6.