by Simon Daish
Seeded seventh for the Women’s Singles draw, 25-year-old Cheng I-Ching is well known for her positive attacking approach on the table combining pace, spin and control to see off her opponents in style.
One the earliest moments which saw Cheng I-Ching really begin to reach new heights in her career came at the 2015 ITTF World Tour Austria Open, where she outperformed expectations by finishing in the runner-up spot in the Women’s Singles competition having entered the event as the no.22 seeded player.
However, 2016 turned out to be the standout year for Cheng I-Ching as the Chinese Taipei star announced her name on the world stage.
The Perfect 2016 World Team Championships provided Cheng I-Ching with the opportunity to prove to the world that she can compete with the best, and she took that chance with her nine victories in Kuala Lumpur guiding Chinese Taipei to a bronze medal finish in the Women’s Championship Division.
While Chinese Taipei didn’t fare well in the Women’s Team competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Cheng I-Ching did manage a quarter-final finish in the Women’s Singles category but arguably her biggest talking point of last year came at the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup.
Cheng I-Ching headed to Philidelphia as one of the favourites to fight for the crown having been named as the second seed.
The Chinese Taipei contestant looked all set to achieve the goal as she fended off three very useful opponents to reach the final, and as an added bonus Cheng I-Ching would avoid the top seed in the final with Singapore’s Feng Tianwei exiting the competition in the last four.
Yet, despite the odds being stacked in her favour Cheng I-Ching missed out on lifting the trophy in a shock defeat to Japan’s teenage sensation Miu Hirano.
Last time out at a World Championships at Suzhou 2015 Cheng I-Ching put in a strong showing, outperforming her seeding of 28th position to secure a top 16 finish.
However, at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships the target for Cheng I-Ching will surely be higher and there is good reason to believe that she will live up to expectations in Düsseldorf.
She may not be the favourite to claim the title in the Women’s Singles draw, but Cheng I-Ching has shown great potential in her game over the past year or so. If the draw is kind to her and if she can cause an upset or two in the latter stages of the competition then Cheng I-Ching should most certainly not be ruled out of the picture.