by Wade Townsend
Sun Yingsha defeated Chen Meng in a crowd pleasing 4-3 final to take the Women’s Singles title at the LION Japan Open.
The win came out of nowhere. Sun is sweet sixteen and was making her senior debut. Despite being an unfamiliar face, her free flowing style won the fans over.
It wasn’t an easy ride to the title. She defeated both the no.1 and no.2 seeds to top the podium and exuded exceptional class and composure, coming from 1-3 down in the final to take the crown.
World table tennis is being taken over by talented youngsters making a mark on the sport and Sun joins the Y2Klub of players born in this millennium mixing it up with senior peers. The cliche of the defiant teenager is true.
In the Men’s Singles, it was a repeat of the World Championships final in Düsseldorf, and Ma Long defeated Fan Zhendong 4-1 to take his first Japan Open title.
As he assumed the crown a curse was broken. Ma Long had lost the final of the Japan Open 10 years ago to Wang Hao; it has alluded him ever since.
The win adds another line to Ma’s ever growing resume. It’s his 24th World Tour title, bringing him within two of Vladimir Samsonov’s record 26 wins. Will Ma make it to 25 next week in front of a home crowd at the China Open?
The dragon is on the loose and the table tennis world is still looking for its Sir Lancelot.
Women’s Singles Final:
Sun Yingsha bt. Chen Meng 4-3 (9-11,11-9,8-11,8-11,11-7,11-9,11-8)
Men’s Singles Final:
Ma Long bt. Fan Zhendong 4-1 (11-7, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5)
See you next week in Chengdu for the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum China Open.