By Henry Chen
“I didn’t think I can win because Fan Zhendong is much more powerful than me. He is one extremely strong player. Aside from that, I do not know how to beat him.”
That was how Gao Ning thought about his rather early elimination from the Liebherr 2016 Men’s World Cup in the hands of the Chinese teenage sensation Fan Zhendong.
The competition had its opener yesterday 3rd October in Saarbrücken, Germany. One of the matches was between the top seed Fan Zhendong of China against Singapore’s veteran Gao Ning.
The match progressed showing full domination from the Chinese player which didn’t give so many opportunities to Gao Ning. Throughout the four games, Fan Zhendong was in control.
The battle ended in 11-3, 11-3, 11-6, 11-3 in favour of Fan Zhendong.
Despite an overwhelming score, Fan Zhendong admitted that he actually expected their encounter to be difficult, more difficult than the last one. Both met in the 2014 Asian Cup where the younger player scored a 3-1 victory in the qualifying stage.
“I originally believed that this match can be difficult. I had played against him before and I won. Therefore this time, I felt it could be harder than the last one,” said Fan Zhendong.
Gao Ning is definitely one of the seasoned players we have in men’s table tennis. Experience-wise, he also had an advantage. But there was one very challenging thing for him to address. That was his opponent’s confidence.
“However, I am also confident that if I focus, I would win.” Fan Zhendong added.
The match was a one-way traffic for Fan Zhendong but Gao Ning is a positive player. He fights and accepts results constructively.
“Of course, I’m still satisfied with some points I scored in today’s match.” Gao Ning concluded.
Fan Zhendong progressed into the quarter-final round where he posted a 4-1 score against Jung Youngsik. Would he be able to maintain his tip-top form and win his first ever world senior title?
Let’s all find out in his next appearance in the semi-final where he is scheduled to face Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson on 3rd October, 11:00 local time. Enjoy the match live in itTV!