By Henry Chen
“I need an ambulance.”
That’s what the top seed of the 2016 ITTF World Tour SheSays China Open Women’s Singles jokingly said after her quarterfinal match against Zeng Jian of Singapore.
The competition in Chengdu proved to be very fierce. Even the high ranking players from the hosting team encountered unexpected difficulties and surprises.
Xu Xin lost to Wong Chun Ting of Hong Kong while the defending champion in the Women’s Singles, Zhu Yuling was eliminated by Yang Haeun of Korea Republic.
Liu Shiwen, on the other hand, survived. But she first had to go through two consecutive matches that went to the full distance.
First was against Marina Matsuzawa in the round 16. Every time the Chinese player took a game, the opponent answered with a tie. But in the deciding game, Liu Shiwen had the last laugh. She scored 11-3, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6.
One round after, Liu Shiwen was in a much dangerous situation. She started the quarterfinal match against Zeng Jian with a 0-3 deficit. It was definitely a big mountain to climb. But a top seed like Liu Shiwen knew how to deal with it. She survived the match in 10-12, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 11-5.
Liu Shiwen later on explained that the reason for her bad performance is the lack of training. There was not much opportunity for her to have systematic training since the Rio Olympic Games.
As a result, Liu Shiwen’s physical strength during the match was not very ideal. It made her realise that she has to strengthen her physical condition.
According to Liu Shiwen, it is expected to witness young and promising players after an Olympic cycle ends. She is aware that their impact can be strong. Therefore, she needs to continue to improvise and strengthen her skills in the sport.
“Speaking for myself, I need to continuously improve. I should have higher requirements on my technical and psychological skills. I can’t say that maintaining the original level is enough,” concluded Liu Shiwen.