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Imperious, Chinese Trio Books Final Place in Style at Liebherr World Team Cup
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Guo Yan overcame a spirited Wang Yuegu  Photo By: Guido Schiefer

11/05/2011        LIEBHERR 2011 World Team Cup (Click here to access this section)

China booked their place in the women’s final at the Liebherr World Team Cup in an imperious manner, following a comprehensive three-nil victory over Singapore in their semi-final encounter on the morning of Saturday 5th November 2011.

Ding Ning beat Feng Tianwei in the first match of the duel in three straight games (11-6, 11-8, 11-9) to give China the perfect start and settle any apprehensions.

Guo Yan followed suit by overcoming Wang Yuegu (9-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-8), with the doubles partnership of Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia bringing matters to a conclusion. They beat Sun Beibei and Wang Yuegu in three straight games (13-11, 11-9, 11-6).

Directed Attacks to Backhand
Matters started with Ding Ning facing Feng Tianwei.

Feng Tianwei directed her opening attacks towards the backhand of Ding Ning but day by day, Ding Ning is more and more secure in that department. She was able to turn control to attack by gaining angles from the backhand, forcing Feng Tianwei out of position and then unleashing her forehand to win the point.

Furthermore, Ding Ning was the first to seize the opportunity; any service that drifted long was seized upon by the Chinese star.

Time Out in Favour of Ding Ning
Ding Ning captured the first game but in the second, Feng Tianwei established a lead; Ding Ning reduced the lead to one point at 7-8. Shu Shushen, the Singapore coach called “Time Out”.

The break worked but not in favour of Feng Tianwei; the next four points all went to Ding Ning.

Third Game
She was two games to nil ahead; in the third game she established a 9-8 lead. Shi Zhihao, the Head Coach of the Chinese Women’s Tean asked for “Time Out”; again the break worked in favour of Ding Ning.

She won two of the next three points. It was first blood tom China.

Yokohama 2006
At the Volkswagen China Open in Yokohama in 2006, Wang Yuegu had saved six match points to overcome Guo Yan in the Women’s Singles final.

In Magdeburg, she made the better start; she established a 10-9 lead in the first game; Shi Zhihao called “Time Out” but it was to no avail, the next point went to Wang Yuegu.

The first game was sealed.

Continued Positive Approach
Throughout the opening game Wang Yuegu had played positively and she continued the approach in the second game, taking some risks she did not let Guo Yan settle into a rhythm. In the second game she went ahead 10-7.

A two games to nil lead beckoned; it was not to be, Guo Yan won the next five points.

She did nothing expansive, just sheer consistency, no mistakes.

No Clear Early Advantage
In the third game neither player could establish a clear advantage with Guo Yan ahead at 9-8; the Singapore camp called “Time Out”.

Once again as in the previous game, consistency prevailed, Wang Yuegu maintained her positive approach but it was Guo Yan who prevailed.

Closed Door
Two close games won by Guo Yan, she raced into an 8-3 lead in the fourth game only for Wang Yuegu to reduce the arrears to 8-all before Guo Yan closed the door, captured the next three points and extended China’s lead.

Efficiency Level High
Similarly, in the doubles contest; the Singaporeans in the guise of Sun Beibei and Wang Yuegu were positive but it was efficiency, consistency and seizing the opportunities that arose which won the day for the Chinese pairing of Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia.

The Chinese duo captured the first two games and won the first three points of the third game; the Singaporeans opted for “Time Out”; the decision was more in hope than in anticipation.

Third Match Point Secured Victory
Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia continued their progress unabated; at 10-4 they held six match points; the next two points were won by Singapore.

Shi Zhihao called “Time Out”, a prudent move before any crisis may have loomed.

Memories of Moscow Fade
Next point to China; a place in the final booked in an emphatic manner; Singapore, fielding the same players who had beaten China so memorably in the final of the Liebherr World Team Championships in Moscow in May 2010 had been beaten.

They had been soundly beaten.



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