by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Once again as one week ago in the Japanese capital city, Sun Yingsha looked perfectly at home when in the spotlight; there are few players in the world who can match Liu Shiwen in close to the table counter attacking rallies. In Chengdu Sun Yingsha proved she is one of the few.
A good start is often essential; Sun Yingsha received a major boost. In the opening game she trailed 7-10, before winning the next four points and eventually the game 13-11.
Imposing her will on proceedings and with Liu Shiwen making more errors than usual, in the fourth game Sun Yingsha went ahead 7-3; Liu Shiwen won the next five points to lead 8-7 and then at 10-8 held two game points.
Desperate to serve short, she served in the net, it was a psychological blow; Sun Yingsha levelled, won the next two points and thus extended her ITTF World Tour career tally to 11 matches, 11 wins, no losses; quite staggering.
Earlier a six games win for Ding Ning was to some extent a reflection of her success in the Women’s Singles final at the recent Liebherr World Championships in Düsseldorf, when trailing by two games to one she won the next three to beat Zhu Yuling.
It was not too dissimilar in Chengdu, a crucial stage of the contest arising in the fourth game. Trailing in the early stages, eventually she levelled matters at 7-all; focused she secured the next four points to level matters.
Confident, Ding Ning imposed her authority on the fifth game, being in control from start to finish. However, in the sixth game she trailed 4-7; she won the next three points.
Understandably, Chen Meng called “Time Out” but the immediate effect of the break worked in favour of Ding Ning. She led 8-7; Chen Meng levelled matters at 9-all but that was to be her last success. Ding Ning won the next two points; a place in the final was reserved.
The final of the Women’s Singles event will be played on the afternoon of Sunday 25th June.