by Simon Daish
Ding Ning pulled off her victory in the Chengdu final against the top seed and fellow countrywoman Liu Shiwen in a battle of Table Tennis greats.
Two out of the three World Tour matches between the players in 2016 had gone in Liu Shiwen’s favour, however, with their most recent encounter ending in a Ding Ning win and with Ding making the 2016 Olympic Singles competition ahead of Liu, there was an expectation to see a strong showing from the 2015 World Singles champion.
Starting the final well, Ding went in front and after the opening three ends the second seed was sitting 2-1 up in the first to four games match. But Liu struck back and edged the fourth game in deuce.
The scores were level at 2-2; both competitors knew how important game five could prove to be in the context of the tie, and a fiercely contested end was eventually settled after deuce with Ding Ning taking the plaudits and the lead.
Liu Shiwen continued to fight in the following game, but to no avail as Ding Ning crowned off a wonderful performance to take the 2016 China Open title (11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 10-12, 12-10, 11-8). The new Women’s Singles champion took to her Facebook page after the match to thank her fans:
“Thanks for fans support, they have been really nice here. Recently I have not had too much systematic training, I am very happy to be the champion here. The final match against my friend Liu Shiwen was amazing” – Ding Ning (China).
Sunday 18th September: Women’s Singles – Main Draw