Ian Marshall, Editor of Table Tennis Illustrated
Title For Classic Combination

Singapore’s SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu have a fine Women’s Doubles record on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2005 but negotiating that final hurdle has proved to be just that notch too high. They were the runners up at the Volkswagen Open Korea and at the TMS Chinese Taipei Open. In Shenzhen at the Volkswagen Open China, they had to be satisfied with once again being the silver medallists.
GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining, Women's Doubles champions in Shenzhen
In the final on Sunday 18th September 2005, they lost to the number two seeds, China’s GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining.

Prodigious Task
Playing the two Chinese stars is a prodigious task and from the word go GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining were in harmony; to the delight of the crowd they sped into a two games to nil lead, the combination of the left hander and the right hand once again proving the classic partnership in doubles play.

The first two games had been won by the same score line 11-8; the third saw the Chinese partnership even more in control, they established a 10-5 lead and a fast forehand from GUO Yue brought matters to an end at 10-6 in their favour.

Quite simply they worked in unison, short service; if the return was long a heavy topspin, await a blocked return; then leave it to your partner to win the point. If the service return was short then the tactic was to push fast and long, a deep return and then capitalise.

It was the control and the variation in spin that proved the telling factor; if a fast exchange ensued then it was honours even but rarely did GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining allow that scenario to arise.

Writing On The Wall
In the fourth game they went ahead 5-2; the writing was on the wall, the game was drifting quickly away from Singaporean hands, so coach LUO Jian called `Time Out’. The next two points went to SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu, 5-4 and then the best rally of the match, topspin after topspin and the point to the Chinese pair.

SUN Bei Bei and WANG Yue Gu kept trying, they kept fighting and levelled at 8-all, they lost the next point but then levelled again at 9-all. An error from GUO Yue with a forehand topspin, ZHANG Yining turned to her partner and smiled as much as to say “Why didn’t you do that in the singles match this morning?” A rare mistake, then another and the Singapore pair had reduced the match arrears to three-one.

Back To Business
Back to seek advice from coach LU Yuansheng and after a brief discussion back to business; whatever advice had been afforded, worked. GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining played with immaculate consistency; the won the first five points before the Singapore duo replied.

Every point won by the Chinese pair was greeted with the banging of inflated clappers and cheers; every point lost by a groan; there were four groans and eleven claps of joy. GUO Yue and ZHANG Yining were the champions.

GUO Yue/ZHANG Yining (CHN) bt SUN Bei Bei/WANG Yue Gu (SIN) 11-8, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4
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