31 Dec 2016

At the semi-final stage of the 2016 Chinese Men’s Super League, Liang Jingkun had caused a major surprise by beating Ma Long in the clash against Shandong Weiqiao; the result proved pivotal in the three-one Bayi win.

The question posed on the concluding day of action, Saturday 31st December, was as to whether the 20 year old could replicate the form in the final and cause another major upset when facing Bazhou; the team led by Fan Zhendong. The answer was to be in the negative.

by Henry Chen 

In the opening match of the contest Liang Jinkun beat Xu Chenhao (12-10, 11-5, 11-9) but that was to prove the only success for Bazhou.

Fan Zhendong levelled matters by overcoming Wang Chuqin but he was severely tested by the 16 year old, who was a bronze medallist in the Boys’ Singles event at the 2015 World Junior Championships. The current holder of the Liebherr Men’s World Cup title, had to recover from a two games to nil deficit to secure victory (9-11, 10-12, 11-7, 12-10, 7-5).

A sigh of relief for Bayi supporters; Xu Chenhao and Zhou Yu combined to win the doubles contest against Chen Jingqi and Fan Shengpeng (11-9, 9-11, 7-3), before Fan Zhendong returned to the table to gain both revenge and seal the title for Bayi. He overcame Liang Jingkun in three straight games (11-4, 11-9, 11-9).

Earlier in the year, in the 11th round of proceedings, Fan Zhendong had suffered his first defeat of the campaign when beaten by Liang Jingkun in a contest that witnessed a three-one success for Bazhou.

Xu Chenhao (left) and partner Zhou Yu (right) victorious in the doubles contest. (Photo by Bian Xiang)

It was to prove one of only three defeats for Fan Zhendong in the whole of the competition; in the following round he was beaten by Shang Kun in three-two Bayi win against Shanghai, before in the 13th round losing to Zhang Chao as three-nil revere was experienced in opposition to Shandong Luneng.

“Many people expected me to play against Ma Long in the final. I made some adjustments in my mind-set yesterday night. I went through the ups and downs this season but luckily I adjusted quickly. It is very helpful for me to gain the confidence when I can put my best performance in the most important game”, Fan Zhendong

An outstanding performance from Fan Zhendong, he received just reward for his efforts by being named the Best Male Player in the 2016 Chinese Men’s Super League.

In the counterpart Women’s Super League, the award was presented to Zhu Yuling. Likewise she experienced just three defeats.

Fan Zhendong and Zhu Yuling named as the best players in the 2016 Chinese Super League. (Photo by Bian Xiang)
China News China Table Tennis Super League Fan Zhendong Liang Jingkun