by Simon Daish
Since the first tournament was staged in 2003 a player from China has always prevailed in the Girls’ Singles category with the likes of Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling being on the list of previous winners, and now Shi Xunyao can add her name to that list after the competitor seeded 26th for the 2016 competition extended China’s glorious run to a 14th straight title win in the category.
Shi Xunyao’s opponent in the final was the No.13 seed Mak Tze Wing, and the Hong Kong representative was in a confident mood prior to the match having seen off the seventh seed Adina Diaconu of Romanian in her semi-finals encounter in the day’s morning session.
However, despite her best efforts Mak Tze Wing was unable to keep up with Shi Xunyao in the final as the Chinese contestant, who pulled off big upsets herself in the earlier rounds against Miu Hirano and Miyu Kato, thundered to a commanding victory.
While the match finished 4-0, the end scoreline doesn’t paint the complete picture of how the final unfolded as Mak Tze Wing actually held a couple of decent opportunities to pick up some games herself; the opening end was won convincingly by Shi Xunyao, but games two and three proved to be much tighter as deuce was required in both games before the Chinese player was able to pull 3-0 ahead.
Hong Kong’s Mak Tze Wing had put up a brave fight across the second and third games, but having missed out in both ends the task became even more difficult before Shi Xunyao eventually brought the tie to a close with another strong showing in game four to maintain China’s dominance in the Girls’ Singles competition (11-2, 12-10, 13-11, 11-3).
“I am so excited winning the first gold medal for China in the competition but I am little bit disappointed that we could not win more gold medals. Perhaps we were inexperienced because we have not played more international competitions. The final match looked simple in terms of the results but my opponent was very strong particularly in the second and third games as the scores were so close” – Shi Xunyao (China).
China may not have enjoyed its most successful time at the World Junior Championships in Cape Town, but Shi Xunyao has at the very least given something for Chinese fans to cheer about with her title win.