By Henry Chen
The semifinalists of the 2016 Chinese National Championships Men’s Team event were Shandong, Shanghai, PLA (People’s Liberation Army), and Jiangsu.
PLA, which is headed by young players like Fan Zhendong and Zhou Yu, made a spectacle in the quarterfinal round after beating Ma Long’s Beijing in 3-1. In that round, Ma Long was the only person from Beijing who scored. Fan Zhendong got two winning points, one of which was against Yan An.
Fan Zhendong and company progressed into the penultimate round and faced Shandong. Zhang Jike was not in the playing lineup for Shandong in such round. But despite such absence, their team defeated PLA.
Kong Lingxuan offered the first winning point for Shandong after he overcame Fan Zhendong in 6-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 13-11. The second match was Fang Bo against Zhou Yu. Just last week in Chengdu, Zhou Yu defeated Fang Bo. This time, the latter redeemed himself with a 3-2 win. Completing the victory was Liu Dingshuo who swept Zhou Kai in the third match.
Meanwhile, in the other half of the draw, Shanghai also stayed strong against Jiangsu. They scored 3-1.
Yesterday the competition for the Team event was concluded. The winner in the men’s division is Shanghai.
Once again, Zhang Jike was out in the lineup for Shandong. But his teammates were able to put up a good fight against the defending champions. Kong Lingxuan battled it out against Shang Kun in the opener but lost in 2-3.
Shandong levelled in 1-1 after Fang Bo won over Zhao Zihao in 3-1. Xu Xin played in the third match and gave Shanghai the 2-1 lead from a powerful sweep against Liu Dingshuo. Fang Bo, for the second time, successfully defended Shandong and scored 3-0 against Shang Kun.
The final match led to a decider between Kong Lingxuan of Shandong and Shanghai’s Zhao Zihao. In such a critical moment in the competition, Zhao Zihao delivered. He scored 11-9, 15-13, 12-10.
Shanghai overcame the challenge and is the 2016 Chinese National Men’s Team champion. This is in fact their third consecutive title in the competition.
Shanxi and Sichuan were the last teams standing in the Women’s Team event. Yesterday, the winner was decided. Sichuan secured the title after posting 3-1.
Shanxi actually had a powerful start in the round with Wu Yang sweeping her opponent, Guo Yan. Zhu Yuling responded with a survival from the challenge of Li Xiaodan, placing Sichuan in a 1-1 tie. The third match went to Sichuan after Fan Siqi recorded a 3-2 win over Lü Tingting.
The top players from both teams battled in the fourth match and the crowd was treated with a high-calibre performance. After a close encounter, Zhu Yuling prevailed with 8-11, 11-2, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3.