The women’s singles final was fought between Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu in an intense battle to wrap up day six of this preparatory event for the Chinese Table Tennis Team.
In the first game, Wang Manyu immediately registered a 6-1 lead, but Sun Yingsha did not panic. Sun played steadily and gradually brought the score level. The game stayed in a stalemate until 10-10 in the first game; then Sun seized the opportunity to win the next two points. The first game won, Sun secured the second to lead 2-0.
Although she lost in the third game, Wang Manyu seemed to be on a new path at the beginning of the fourth. Wang took the initiative to immobilize her opponent’s forehand to win 11-6, and kept the momentum going with a 6-3 lead in the fifth game. Sun tied the score but Wang did not repeat the mistakes of the first game, winning the fifth 11-8, closing the gap to just one.
In the sixth game, Sun scored six points in a row and looked set to clinch the title at 10-8. Wang Manyu struggled but managed to tie the score, and on began a tug-of-war. At 15-13, Wang Manyu won the sixth game and the unlikely comeback at 3-3 looked very much possible.
In the decider, Sun started with great momentum and instantly gained a 5-1 lead. Wang gradually came back as she moved to 6-7. Sun, however, was not interested in waiting around any longer – scoring four points in a row with her sharp forehand attack to seal a 4-3 (12-10, 11-9, 14-12, 6-11, 8-11, 13-15, 11-6) win.
“Today’s game was very exciting. Both of us played at our best level. We are very familiar with each other. I felt that the game would definitely be very tough, prepared for the difficulties well; whether you in the lead or fall behind, you will go all out to fight for each point.” Sun Yingsha
Previously, Wang Yidi had defeated Chen Meng 4-3 in the 3rd-4th place playoff.
Fan exits, Wang v Liang in the final
Meanwhile, the semi-finals for the men’s singles were concluded earlier in the day as Liang Jingkun defeated the world no.1 Fan Zhendong 4-2, and Wang Chuqin overcame Xu Chenhao – conqueror of Xu Xin – in straight games.
Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun are the two athletes known for their high quality of shots, both possess strong backhand capabilities. However, Fan’s flexibility in offensive tactics have usually given him the edge against Liang, but not today.
The two Chinese athletes were neck and neck in the first game, it looked like they were testing each other. Liang managed to score three points in a row despite being 9-10 behind, and took the lead in the match. A good start laid a good foundation for Liang who then won two games in a row to lead by 3-0.
Facing the exit door, Fan let go of his inhibitions; he played stronger changing the rhythm of the match. It meant there were more unforced errors from Liang. Fan took complete advantage and recorded back-to-back wins of his own.
Fan’s fierce pursuit of a comeback undoubtedly created tremendous pressure on Liang, but he held on to his nerves. In the sixth game, Liang quickly adjusted the pace of the game to dictate the state of play in his favour, winning the game and the match by 4-2 (12-10, 11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 7-11, 11-7).
After the game, Liang Jingkun said that the first game was the key to the whole match:
“It mainly depended on the first game. I turned it around when I was behind 9:10, and today Fan Zhendong was not as good as usual. The start was slower. I I seized the opportunity to lead 3-0. In the next two games, my energy dropped a bit. In the sixth game, I still managed to fight it out and strengthen the quality.” Liang Jingkun
In the other semi-final, Wang Chuqin defeated Xu Chenhao 4-0. Speaking of this victory, Wang Chuqin bluntly said that he was lucky.
“If the opponent is injured, he can only passively persist and cannot do his best to complete the game. The injury is serious, and he really couldn’t play the game. We haven’t played such a high-intensity game for a long time. It’s a test for everyone’s body. Yesterday Xu Chenhao played Xu Xin, and he played so well and is highly antagonistic. This definitely had an impact on his body.” Wang Chuqin
When it comes to the final, Wang Chuqin admitted that it would be no easy match:
“Liang Jingkun is in such a good state and won against Fan Zhendong again. I will be facing him with a hard-working mentality.” Wang Chuqin
The men’s singles final will be held tomorrow between Wang Chuqin and Liang Jingkun. Stay close for the coverage!