by Henry Chen
The Bazhou Team seized the opportunity in the prior round of the 2016 Chinese Super League. However, their momentum to gain a place in the play-offs was hampered in the latest proceedings after they lost to Shenzhen in the 16th round scheduled on Saturday 17th December.
It was noticeable that Bazhou’s lead player Liang Jingkun was off duty; this perhaps affected the performance of the whole team.
Shenzhen, playing at home, immediately gained control in the round, posting a two-nil advantage. Liu Jikang beat Fan Shengpeng in the opener (11-9, 11-5, 11-6) before Cui Qinglei overcame Wang Chuqin in 3-1 (11-7, 9-11, 11-4, 10-6).
Bazhou made their presence felt in the doubles match following their first point from Fan Shengpeng and Cheng Jingqi (11-9, 11-9). Wang Chuqin won the fourth fixture against Liu Jikang (4-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-3).
The battle then led to the decider between Ren Hao and Cheng Jingqi. After three games, Ren Hao sealed the victory (11-5, 5-11, 7-3).
Meanwhile, Shandong Luneng recovered from their loss in the previous round. They were victorious against Shanghai. Fang Bo gained the first point for Luneng, going through a full distance against Shang Kun (9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 14-12, 7-5).
Zhang Chao had an important role in the match as he had to face Xu Xin. In three games, Zhang Chao overcame Xu Xin for the second win (11-9, 11-9, 12-10).
Shanghai then established themselves in the battle in the third fixture. Shang Kun and Zhao Zihao won the doubles (11-4, 11-8). Xu Xin redeemed himself in the round winning the fourth match. He overcame Fang Bo in (9-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-3, 7-4). Unfortunately, Xu Xin’s efforts were not supplemented in the decider.
Luneng’s Zhang Yudong won the fifth match against Zhao Zihao (12-10, 8-11, 7-0).
Fan Zhendong took the back seat in the round for the Bayi Team, just playing in the fifth match. In two games, Fan Zhendong served his purpose. He beat Yan Sheng (19-17, 11-8) sealing the victory for Bayi.
Sichuan’s Zhu Linfeng secured two wins in the round. He crushed Song Xu in the opener (11-5, 11-4, 11-5) then won over Zhou Yu in the fourth contest (7-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6). Unfortunately, the team’s overall strength was at a disadvantage compared to Bayi.
Zhou Yu won the second match against Xu Ruifeng (11-7, 11-9, 11-5). Later Zhou Kai and Xu Chenhao won the doubles (11-8, 11-8).
Jiangsu and Tianjin also had a close encounter in the 16th round of the competition. Kong Lingxuan played a vital role. He contributed two wins for Jiangsu. He won the doubles with Cai Wei (11-8, 11-9) and secured the decider against Wei Shihao (14-12, 11-7).
Zheng Peifeng survived the second match against Liu Dingshuo (11-7, 4-11, 7-11, 11-5, 7-3), completing the necessary wins for victory.
The only team who posted a rather easy battle in the round is Shandong Weiqiao. Ma Long and company sealed a convincing win against Anhui.
Yan An started with a 3-1 score against Yu Ziyang (8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 15-13). Ma Long won the second match against Zhou Qihao (11-3, 11-7, 11-6). Lin Gaoyuan and Xue Fei paired up for the doubles. They won in three game (8-11, 13-11, 7-1).