by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The hallmark of Wu Yue is her consistency and control when playing close to the table; it was that factor which helped her secure the first game.She restricted the opportunities afforded for Paulina Vega to execute her favoured forehand top spin.
Relaxed, and causing Paulina Vega problems when serving short to the forehand, Wu Yue won the second game in style.
Throughout Wu Yue stayed close to the table; credit to Paulina Vega, she fought for every point, recovering from an 8-10 deficit to capture the third game. Determined, in the fourth game Paulina Vega reduced the deficit from 6-9 to 8-9, forcing Jörg Bitzigeio, the United States coach, to call “Time Out”. The break work, Wu Yue won the next two points; a three games to one lead was established.
However, Paulina Vega was never able to assert her authority on matters. Never giving ground, Wu Yue created angles, timed the ball that fraction sooner than her adversary. At 10-6 in fifth game she held match point; more positive than ever before, Paulina Vega, saved all four match points but at 11-10 could not make it a fifth. The bronze medal belonged to Wu Yue.
“The tempo of the match was slow and that made me feel uncomfortable; so I tried to make her feel uncomfortable by serving to her forehand, sometimes short, sometimes long. In the fifth game, she had made mistakes when I played to her forehand; so I thought at 10-6 I’ll keep playing to her forehand. She didn’t make any mistakes! At 10-all I just said to myself keep calm.” Wu Yue
Success for Wu Yue, disappointment for Paulina Vega but fourth position was a most creditable effort; moreover, being the leading Latin American, a place in the forthcoming Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup was reserved.