by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It means the dynasty comes to an end; ever since Deng Yaping won the inaugural edition in the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, a member of the Chinese National Team has always won the title.
Notably Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen have been the two most successful players in the Women’s World Cup.
Guo Yan won in Kuala Lumpur in 2010 but since that date, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen have shared the spoils. Ding Ning won in 2011 in Singapore and in 2014 in Linz; meanwhile, Liu Shiwen succeeded in 2009 in Guangzhou and three years later in Huangshi, before being crowned champion in 2013 in Kobe and one year ago in Sendai.
Four wins for Liu Shiwen means that she misses the chance to gain the acclamation of the most sucessful player ever in the history of the Women’s World Cup.
Likewise, Zhang Yining won four times; she won in 2001 in Wuhu, the following year in Singapore prior to succeeding in 2004 in Huangzhou and in 2005 in Guangzhou.
One door closes, another opens; Liu Shiwen will be replaced Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching who will now be making her third consecutive appearance in the tournament.
Early exits have been the order of proceedings in the past but of the players competing in Philadelphia, arguably Cheng I-Ching is the most improved.
At the beginning of the year she was listed at no.22 on the Women’s World Rankings, currently she occupies the no.8 spot, the highest of her career.
Pertinently at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships staged earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur, she was pivotal to Chinese Taipei’s bronze medal success, she lost just one match; that being against China’s Li Xiaoxia at the semi-final stage of proceedings.
Additionally, she was a Women’s Singles quarter-finalist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, whilst on this year’s ITTF World Tour she advanced to the penultimate round in both Hungary and Japan.