By Neha Aggarwal (Interview by Iulia Necula)
Since a long time now, the team of Chinese Taipei has been celebrating the success of Cheng-I-Ching, in a rather fashionable manner. But behind the shadows of the world no.6 and 2016 Women’s World Cup silver medalist, Chen Szu-Yu, currently ranked 53 in the the world, has been the driving force of a renewed confidence in their women’s team, proving to be a big support for Cheng-I-Ching.
Starting her campaign with the Women’s Singles Preliminary Rounds, Chen won her opening match against Yuka Minagawa (JPN) in four straight games (11-7, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8). She thus moves to the main draw where she will play against Misaki Morizono on 20th April 2017.
Out of the eight entries in Women’s Singles from Chinese Taipei here in Incheon, Cheng-I-Ching is directly placed in the main draw. Of the remaining seven, Chen Szu-Yu is the only one to have made it to the main draw.
In Incheon, she looks focused and calm. Moreover, the way she wrapped her opening match, she was certainly prepared. She adapted to her opponent immediately and had a dominating move through out.
“After the busy last week in Wuxi I may feel a little bit tired but at the same time very excited to be in here in Incheon as I feel less pressure and this way I am able to enjoy more,” said the thrilled Chen Szu-Yu.
Her energies are transferred to the rest of the team, she proves to be a positive force for Chinese Taipei, which looks very confident. She is always there for her teammates, supporting and cheering for them.
An Improved player
2016 was a successful year for the 25-year old who reached the round of 16 at the 2016 Olympic Games. She beat the 2016 European Champion Hu Melek in the round of 32 and lost to Kim Song I (PRK) in the round of 16 in a tight 2-4 match.
Last week in Wuxi at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championship, she reached the round of 32 in the Women’s Singles losing to Feng Tianwei (SGP) in the narrowest of the margins (15-13, 3-11, 8-11, 11-8,13-11).
To top everything else, Chen Szu-Yu always played as the second best player from Chinese Taipei in the team event, only behind Cheng-I-Ching.
“I am feeling very well at the moment, I just want to prepare myself by playing many matches and arrive at World Table Tennis Championship in perfect shape,”- Chen Szu-Yu.
“But after the Korea Open, I will take some days off to see my family and enjoy some good movies, and then start my preparations for the World Championships,” said Chen.
“I had good result at Asian Championships and Olympic Games but I am not very happy with my performance at World Tour Events,” admitted Chen Szu-Yu.
The winner of the 2014 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in the Women’s Singles, Chen has been reaching the round of 32 and 16 at the World Tour events since then, but not beyond. She has improved a lot of skills during the last year but there is something which is lacking.
She elaborated, “it is necessary to continue working on my mental preparation as that is my main weakness at the moment.”
“My main objective is to reach the top 20 in the World Ranking by the end of 2017,” she explained.
With the World Table Tennis Championship just a few weeks away, Chen also has her goals set for that.
“For the 2017 World Championship, my aim is to make to the quarter-finals stage. In the 2015 World Championship at Suzhou, I lost to Ito Mima, but I want to better my performance at Dusseldorf,” she made her point clear.
With a clear goal and a determined heart, Chen Szu-Yu is sure to reach greater heights in the coming few months. Her graph has just risen, and her performance only shows it to move upwards.