Wang Nan and Zhang Yining victorious in Kuwait
Photo By: Ayoade Ademakinwa
2008 Kuwait Open (Click here to access this section)
Both pairs who contested the Women’s Doubles final at the Salwa Cup, Kuwait Open on Sunday 16th March 2008 had a pedigree of success; just one pair had the supreme pedigree.
Singapore’s Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei had enjoyed success internationally but of course no modern day pair can compare with the achievements of China’s Wang Nan and Zhang YIning! Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei have two ITTF Pro Tour titles to their credit; they won in Russia and Germany in 2006; furthermore, on several occasions they have reached the latter stages of major events but when compared with the record of Wang Nan and Zhang Yining their achievements look quite modest.
In addition to being the reigning Olympic champions, thrice World champions; including two wins at the Grand Finals, they have a total of ten successes on the ITTF Pro Tour.
At the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open they extended that record; they beat Li JIa Wei and Sun Bei Bei in six games, winning 9-11, 11-4, 11-8, 14-16, 11-4, 11-3#
Wang Nan and Zhang Yining were the undoubted favourites but it was Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei who made the better start.
In the opening game they established a 9-5 lead; the excellence of their returns of service being of particular note. They maintained the lead and at 10-7 held three game points; Wang Nan and Zhang Yining saved the first two but they could not make it a hat-trick.
The first game went to Singapore 11-9.
Stung by the reverse, Wang Nan and Zhang Yining moved into a higher gear; whatever their opponents could do they could do better.
They increased the tempo of their play to duly win the second game 11-4 and thus bring the match score level.
The third game was a much closer affair with the Chinese pair that fraction quicker to attack, that fraction better at seizing the opportunity.
Success went the way of Wang Nan and Zhang Yining 11-8; they had the advantage.
Undaunted Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei responded, they established an 8-5 lead in the fourth game but Wang Nan and Zhang Yining reduced the deficit to one point.
Liu Guodong, the Singapore National Coach, immediately called “Time Out”. The re-think brought an immediate reward. Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei won the next point but the Chinese stars levelled at 9-all. The next point went to Singapore, China levelled again; from that moment onwards first one team had game point then the other until from 14-all, Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei won two points in a row to secure victory and level the match score.
Once again, Wang Nan and Zhang Yining had been stung.
In the fifth game they dominated matters playing tactically in a very astute manner. Early in the rally a topspin directed towards the body of their opponents, played with spin not speed, brought success.
They won the game 11-4.
The momentum was now with Wang Nan and Zhang Yining.
In the sixth game they established a lead, the Singapreans made errors as they tried to put pressure on their adversaries. Wang Nan and Zhang Yining had assumed control
They won the game 11-8 and the title was in their hands; coach Kong Linghui was a happy man.