by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It was the end of a quite remarkable run of success for Sun Yingsha; the journey starting in Tokyo on Wednesday 14th June, 11 matches unbeaten on her ITTF World Tour debut, on her 12th endeavour, she more than met her match in the guise of Ding Ning, the Olympic and World champion.
However, one did wonder if the sensational run was going to continue; she won the opening game, her short efficient quick strokes once again paying dividends, as they had the previous day when beating both Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and colleague, Liu Shiwen, without the loss of a single game.
Success in the opening game and almost in the second; Ding Ning emerged the winner in a tense affair by the minimal two point margin. It was the turning point, increasingly confident, Ding Ning pressed the accelerator, she won the third and fourth games in some style.
In the fifth game, she went ahead 5-4; Sun Yingsha called “Time Out”, she won the next point but Ding Ning was now in a rhythm. She anticipated every move, supremely balanced, able to respond to any wide returned offered by her adversary and causing Sun Yingsha immense problems with her trademark services, Ding Ning imposed her authority.
At 10-6 she held match point, she needed just once chance.
Gold for Ding Ning, her 13th ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title in what is now 23 finals was secured.