by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Similar to the event in Chengdu, all four semi-finalists were from China; after accounting for Shi Xunyao, the winner of the Girls’ Singles title at the Sun International 2016 World Junior Championships in Cape Town (11-9, 3-11, 3-11, 11-9, 13-11, 11-6), Qian Tianyi overcame Weishan to secure the title (11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-6).
In the counterpart semi-final, Liu Weishan had beaten Wang Tianyi (11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-1).
Qian Tianyi in a left handed top spin attacking player similar to Ding Ning but that is not the only similarity. The victory in Chengdu meant that Ding Ning had won an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title in the city for the third time and had completed a successful defence; in addition to 2016, she had won in 2014.
Now, Qian Tianyi can even better that record; in Taicang it was her third win in succession.
In the final in Chengdu, Ding Ning beat Sun Yingsha; in the final in Taicang one year ago, likewise, Qian Tianyi had beaten Sun Yingsha, having the previous year accounted for Wang Yidi.
Also, there is one factor for 27 year old Ding Ning and those of that generation to consider; like Sun Yingsha, Qian Tianyi was born in 2000. Names to note for the 2024 Olympic Games?
Furthermore, could Qian Tianyi make it an unprecedented four in a row? She has still one more year left in the junior ranks!
“I am very familiar with Liu Weishan because she is my teammate, I think today we played at or normal level; I was able to get into the competition quickly so that helped me a great deal”, Qian Tianyi
China dominant, it was the same in the Cadet Girls’ Singles event where likewise the host nation provided all four semi-finalists.
Huang Yinqi emerged as the winner beating Xu Jiaru at the semi-final stage (11-6, 11-3, 11-8), prior to securing the title at the final expense of Kuai Man (11-9, 11-4, 11-9); on the counterpart semi-final, Kuai Man had beaten Ding Zige.
“We are familiar with each other as teammates. I hope we can keep working as a team. Team spirit is the most important thing. I became the champion because of the help from the coaches; the title belongs to them as well.” Huang Yinqi
Titles for China, there was one for Korea; Kim Nayeong won the Hopes Girls’ Singles event; at the final hurdle she beat China’s Zhang Jinglei (15-13, 11-6, 8-11, 11-5).
“I am really happy to have won; Zhang Jinglei was a really strong opponent.” Kim Nayeong
Play completed in Chengdu, the next stop on the ITTF World Junior Circuit is Amman; the 2017 Jordan Junior and Cadet Open commences on Tuesday 25th July.
Photos: Liu Chang An / Zhang Lingling