By Neha Aggarwal
All eyes were on Miu Hirano as she was the biggest contender to clinch the Women’s Singles crown in Düsseldorf, but Ding Ning was a beast today. She gave Hirano no chance from the word go. She had lost to Hirano in the quarter-finals of the ITTF-Asian Championships in April this year, and she was certainly looking to get her revenge.
“Last time in the Asia Championships, I was also ahead but then I lost. I think at that time, my attention to detail and my overall condition was not great, so I focused on preparing myself better in these areas. It also has to do with my opponent’s performance, because her momentum right now is quite fierce, which is normal for someone so young,” said Ding Ning.
Ding Ning was on fire today as she took a big initial lead winning the first three games 11-4, 11-8, 11-5. Hirano’s body language made it clear that she was confused, and helpless. The Japanese fought back winning the fourth game 5-11, but soon Ding Ning was back to be her best.
The focus was evident and the desire to finish off the match was clear in the fifth game. Leading 3-1 and 9-5 in the fifth game, Ding Ning won the point, cheered loud and went on to shake hands with the umpire thinking she had won the match. But she soon realized her blunder and flashed out a big smile. Her coach took a time out to clam her down. Ding Ning wrapped up the game 11-5 to end Miu Hirano’s dream.
“Before the competition, my coach, teammates, and everyone helped me prepare. In terms of techniques and tactics, I really have not changed much. It really just depends on how I perform. I think I was extremely devoted to the competition today. As everyone saw, I even forgot what the points were near the end, so I was definitely very devoted on the court.”- Ding Ning.
Ding Ning won in five games (11-4, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-5).
On the other hand, Hirano has already written her name in the history books becoming the first Japanese to win a singles medal at the World Championships after 1969.
“I am happy to win a medal for Japan, but I am extremly sad to lose today. I think right from the beginning the flow of play was against me, and I could not change it.”- Miu Hirano.
Ding Ning was elated, she will now face the winner of Zhu Yuling and Liu Shiwen in the finals. “Now one round left is left, I have a lot of pressure, but I will do my best and hope to put on a great show for the fans,” she said.