by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Zhu Yuling won in seven games (6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6), a contest in which we wondered if she had missed the chance; in the sixth game she held one match point, it was saved. Eventually, Liu Shiwen prevailed and surely now the momentum was in her favour.
It was to prove the reverse; Zhu Yuling made the better start in the deciding seventh game, at the change of ends she led 5-3, she never let the advantage slip as, the crowd gasped in admiration at the sheer speed of the rallies.
“Both of us performed well today. It was difficult to adjust to the speed of her play but I managed to adapt and find a good tempo. Winning the Asian Cup demonstrates that I have made some progress recently and reached a new level.” Zhu Yuling
Runners up spot for Liu Shiwen, it was the same as two years earlier in Jaipur when beaten in the final by Singapore’s Feng Tianwei.
Overall, it was the seventh time for Liu Shiwen that she had appeared in an Asian Cup final. In 2010 and 2012 she won on home soil in Guangzhou, in 2013 in Hong Kong and last year in Dubai. Additional to 2015 in Jaipur, she was also the runner up in 2009 in Hangzhou. Meanwhile, for Zhu Yuling it was her very first such appearance.
Success for Zhu Yuling came after an all Japanese bronze medal match witnessed victory for Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.3 seed, in opposition to Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed. In a contest as hard fought as the final itself, Kasumi Ishikawa recovered from a two games to nil deficit to emerge successful (9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8).
“I will give myself 70 out of 100 for the performance in this tournament. I did well in the group stage. Though I lost to Liu Shiwen in the semi-final, I was still satisfied with my performance yesterday. My goal was to reach the final but I did not make it. I will try again and do my best in the World Cup!” Kasumi Ishikawa
Third place for Kasumi Ishikawa ahead of Miu Hirano. Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu, Korea’s Seo Hyowon, Doo Hoi Kem and Cheng I-Ching complete the top eight names.
In the play-off for fifth and sixth positions, Chen Szu-Yu, the no.12 seed, beat Korea’s Suh Hyowon, the no.8 seed (11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6); earlier, also in the morning session of play Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, the no.6 seed, had accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching (15-13, 10-12, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6) to claim seventh place.
Zhu Yuling, Liu Shiwen and Kasumi Ishikawa now qualify to receive invitations to attend the Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup to be staged in Markham, Toronto from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th October.