by Henry Chen
A strong forerunner in the competition for a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Zhu Yuling has excelled in the 2016 Chinese Super League.
“I think I played normally today”, Zhu Yuling
In the semi-final battle against Bayi, Zhu Yuling accomplished two wins, accounting for Bayi’s Sun Mingyang and Mu Zi.
Zhu Yuling provided the opening advantage for Shandong Luneng with a three-one score against Sun Mingyang in the first match (12-10, 14-12, 8-11, 11-8). She continued her convincing form in the fourth contest where she overpowered the opponent’s top player Mu Zi, losing just one game in the process (11-5, 11-2, 6-11, 11-8).
“My opponents also played quite well. Actually, the other teams did much research on me, so definitely I feel a little bit pressure. However, this is something that I should get used to, because it’s a good thing that people do research on me”, Zhu Yuling
Meanwhile, in the other half of the women’s draw, Liu Shiwen became the first casualty in the play-off season, losing against the 19-year old player from Shandong Qilu, Chen Xingtong. The four-time World Cup champion Liu Shiwen was overwhelmed into a full distance in the second fixture (11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 11-6, 7-3).
“I did not play well today. I did not concentrate on the match enough. In the last phase of the match, I did not have too many ways to win, just have to play point by point!” Liu Shiwen
The semi-final proved to be a challenging round for Liu Shiwen who had to go through another five games in the fourth duel against Wen Jia. However, she prevailed in five games (13-11, 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 14-12).
The Anxin Team then sealed their seat in the final, to battle Shandong Luneng for this season’s championship title. Liu Shiwen expects to play much better in the next round.
“Thanks for my coach and teammates. They helped a lot for the victory. Hope I can play better in the final”, Liu Shiwen
As for Zhu Yuling, she only hopes for one thing and that is to win.
“Under this situation, if you can still win, you have proved yourself!” Zhu Yuling