Chen Meng beaten by Feng Yalan
Photo By: Alex Lomaev
GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour, Koltsovo Russia Open
Winner of the Girls’ Singles event at the first ever ITTF Junior Circuit Finals, staged in the Swedish capital city of Stockholm ten years ago in 2012, China’s Chang Chenchen upset the seeding at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour China Open on the morning of Sunday 16th September.
At the semi-final stage, occupying the eighth seeded place in the draw, she accounted for Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus, the second seed, in a gruelling duel that was both physically and mentally draining.
Chang Chenchen won a full distance hard fought seven games duel (11-7, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6).
All Chinese Final
Success for Chang Chenchen means that an all Chinese Women’s Singles final awaits; in the counterpart penultimate round duel, it was victory for Feng Yalan.
The top seed, she overcame compatriot and third seed, Chen Meng in four straight games (11-8, 11-2, 11-4, 13-11) to book her place in the final; the power of Feng Yalan crucial against the consistent counter attacking play of the reigning World Junior champion.
Second Final of Year
Victory for Feng Yalan means that she has reached her second final of the year in four appearances on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour.
The one errant occasion was on her first venture of the year, when she was beaten at the quarter-final stage in Doha by Li Xiaodan. However, one week later she more than made amends by emerging as the champion in Kuwait.
As for Chen Meng, losing at the semi-final stage was quite a unique experience.
In what is now five appearances on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour she has reached the semi-final stage on three occasions; Ekaterinburg is her first penultimate round defeat.
Always Previously Won
Furthermore, on her two previous semi-final appearances she has progressed to win the title.
In Doha in February, she beat colleague Li Xiaodan in the semi-finals before overcoming Korea’s Seok Hajung in the final; whilst more recently in August in Suzhou, she accounted for compatriots Fan Ying and Liu Shiwen to arrest the title.
Sixth Overall Appearance
Meanwhile, for Viktoria Pavlovich it was her first Women’s Singles semi-final appearance on the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour. Overall, since making her debut in Italy in 1996 it was her sixth and her fourth defeat.
She fell at the same stage in Germany in 2001, in the United States in 2004 and in Hungary in 2010.
Viktoria Pavlovich beaten by Chang Chenchen Photo by Alex Lomaev
The successes came in Brazil in 2005, when she beat Germany’s Kristin Silbereisen in the penultimate round, the player she overcame in the quarter-finals in Ekaterinburg, and in 2008 in Minsk when she progressed to win the title.
It was an occasion when she accounted for one player she knew well and another a total stranger.
At the semi-final stage she beat twin sister Veronika before in the final overcoming Poland’s Yan Xiaoshan, the latter’s one and only career appearance on Tour.
Three Out of Three
Disappointment for Viktoria Pavlovich but success for Chang Chenchen, who was competing in her third career Women’s Singles Tour Final.
Furthermore she made it three out of three. In 2005 she beat colleague Li Xiaoxia at the semi-final stage in China, before losing to a second Chinese star in the form of Guo Yue in the final.
However it is her second penultimate round excursion is arguably the most relevant.
In 2007 at the Eurosib Russian Open in St Petersburg she beat Hong Kong’s Lin Ling in the semi-finals before overcoming her doubles partner in Ekaterinburg, Rao Jingwen in the final.
A good omen for Chang Chenchen?
Chang Chenchen once again in the final in Russia Photo by Alex Lomaev