by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Defeat for Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun but there is a degree of consolation. They end the year in top spot on the Standings (1,082 points), one place ahead of China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen (1,050 points).
Notably, in what was the Koreans ninth appearance on this year’s ITTF World Tour, it was no less than their seventh appearance in a Women’s Doubles final.
Only last week in Austria and earlier in the year in Japan did they not advance to the final; on both occasions it was a somewhat unexpected first round exit. Impressively they won in Hungary, Germany and Poland, whilst being the runners up on home soil in Korea as well as in Croatia and Slovenia.
Overall, as a partnership they have now appeared in 12 ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles finals and have emerged successful on seven occasions; in 2015 they won in Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and in Argentina, whilst being the runners up in the Philippines.
Seven ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles for Jeon Jihee and she can add two more; she won in 2013 in Warsaw with Park Seonghye and last year in Australia partnering Lee Dasom. Furthermore, in 2014 she was the runner up in Kuwait with Seok Hajung and one year earlier in Korea in harness with Lee Eunhee.
Somewhat differently, Yang Haeun has only won when partnering Jeon Jihee but she was the silver medallist in 2011 in Dubai in harness with Seok Hajung and the following year in the Czech Republic in harness with Park Youngsook.
Meanwhile, for Cheng I-Ching and Lee I-Chen it was their first ever ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles final as a partnership; Cheng I-Ching having previously enjoyed notable success when partnering colleague Huang Yi-Hua.
“It’s our first win on the World Tour so we are really happy and proud. The key to the victory wass that we could adapt to their playing style and change to our advantage”, Cheng I-Ching
Together they won in India in 2010 and in Warsaw in 2012; in addition they were the runners up in Japan in 2010, in China in 2011 and 2014 as well as in Yokohama in 2013.
However, most notably they were the silver medallists in the 2012 and 2013 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.
Previous successes for Cheng I-Ching; for Lee I-Chen; just one ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles final.
“We were not really nervous and we felt confident all the way even if we were behind two-one”, Lee I-Chen
In 2013 in partnership, with Hsu Hui-Tsun, the pair experienced defeat in the final against China’s Li Xiaodan and Mu Zi; the venue, the Eriksdalshallen.
Now three years later happier memories for Lee I-Chen in what must be one of her favourite venues.