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Different Partner but Once Again Mixed Doubles Gold for Cao Zhen
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Cao Zhen hugs Zhang Chao after the last point was secured in the Mixed Doubles final  Photo By: Rémy Gros

5/13/2011        GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tennis Championships (Click here to access this section)

The winner of the Women’s Singles event at the Malaysian Open in Johor Baru in 2003; the first player in the history of the ITTF Pro Tour to win a singles title on debut, China’s 24 year old Cao Zhen added to her list of successes by retaining her Mixed Doubles title at GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam on Friday 13th May 2011.

In 2009 at the H.I.S. World Championships in Yokohama she had partnered Li Ping to gold; in Rotterdam she joined forces with 26 year old Zhao Chen and once again concluded matters standing proudly on the top step of the medal podium.

At the final hurdle, Zhang Chao and Cao Zhen beat Hao Shuai and Mu Zi in five games (11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-8).

Second Silver
It was a second consecutive Mixed Doubles title at a World Championships for Cao Zhen; for Mu Zi it was a second consecutive runners up crown.

In 2009, she had finished in the silver medal position with Zhang Jike.

Equally Delighted
“I’m just as pleased today as when I won last time”, smiled Cao Zhen who after the last point had been secured threw her arms around the neck of Zhang Cao as though welcoming a long lost friend at Beijing Capital airport after returning from a visit to the Gobi desert.

“Both wins are fantastic”, continued Cao Zhen. “I think we complement each other well and that was the situation in Yokohama; Zhang Chao has a reserved character just like Li Ping, I’m more outgoing.”

Different Characters
Very true, Zhang Chao appeared quite stunned when the vivacious Cao Zhen let her emotions run free, he’s the quite guy as opposed to Cao Zhen who “bubbles” with joy.

Cao Zhen is the sort of person who would welcome friends to her house or apartment with open arms and make sure they had a cup of tea before they had passed through the door!

Perfect Partner
“If you had a free choice of who you would select as your Mixed Doubles partner, you would choose Cao Zhen”, said the very polite Zhao Chen when paying tribute to Lulu.

Cao Zhen is Lulu, a famed Scottish singer, full of energy, bubbling with enthusiasm, full of life.

“She’s the first choice; I’m so lucky she’s my partner”, continued the serious faced but extremely sincere Zhang Cao; Lulu continued smiling but inside you could tell she was most grateful for the compliment.

“Cao Zhen reads the game so well”, concluded Zhang Chao. “She is perfect, flawless.”

In Rotterdam both Zhang Chao and Cao Zhen were superb, deservedly the GAC GROUP 2011 World Table Tenis Championships Mixed Doubles gold medallists.



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