09 Apr 2017

A place on the podium at stake; Chinese Taipei became the first to be assured of a medal at the Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships in Wuxi.

At the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Team event, they beat Singapore by three matches to nil.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Gao Ning, phlegmatic, safe and reliable accounted for both Liao Cheng-Ting (2-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-7) and Chen Chien-An (11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-5) but that was the sum total of Singaporean success.

Pang Xue Jie experienced defeat in the opening match of the fixture against Chen Chien-An (11-7, 11-5, 11-7) and in the vital fifth and concluding duel when opposing Liao Cheng-Ting (11-8, 11-7, 11-5). The one further win for Chinese Taipei was recorded by Yang Heng-Wei; in the third match of the engagement, he beat Ethan Poh Shao Feng (11-4, 13-11, 11-9).

Success for Chinese Taipei but did they have an extra advantage; the Doha factor.

The coach sitting courtside was Chiang Peng-Lung, the player who won the Men’s Singles and with Chang Yen-Shu the Men’s Doubles at the 2000 Asian Championships.

“Chinese Taipei never won, it was always the Chinese so it was a big surprise; I think the fact that I’ve played in the Asian Championships gives me the experience to know how the players feel.” Chiang Peng-Lung

Equally for the concluding match surely they had a young man with ever growing self-belief; last December Liao Cheng-Ting won the Under 21 Men’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

Notably the moments of glory for Chiang Peng-Lung and Liao Cheng-Ting were both achieved in Doha.

“I’d not played Gao Ning before, it was difficult playing against him. After I won the first game he changed his tactics; his defence, his blocking play is very good. Before, the last match I was nervous but after winning the first game I became more confident; certainly winning last year in Doha has helped my self-belief.” Liao Cheng-Ting

It may appear at first sight somewhat strange that a quarter-final contest can be played before some teams have started their group qualification contests but that is the nature of the beast.

Six teams receive direct entries to the quarter-finals; the other two places are filled by qualifiers from the initial stage. They are drawn against the top two seeds; thus the draw involving teams seeded three to six can be made before a ball has been hit in anger.


2017 Seamaster Qatar Open Seamaster 2017 Asian Championships Liao Cheng-Ting Chiang Peng-Lung

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