by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A good start to calm the nerves, Zhu Yuling thoroughly prepared for the task by Li Sun, the man currently at the helm of the Chinese Women’s Team, made that good start; she secured the opening game in a most comfortable manner.
In the second, Cheng I-Ching responded, she held a lead at 6-4 and at 7-5 but was never able to capitalise on the advantage. Zhu Yuling levelled at 7-all before securing the game by the minimum two point margin.
Win a close game and confidence blossoms; the adage applied to Zhu Yuling, she dominated the third game and with no moments of anguish secured the fourth.
The consistency of Zhu Yuling forced errors from Cheng I-Ching as she tried to force the pace and seize the initiative; however, Zhu Yuling anticipated every move of her most worthy adversary; with a degree of ease, she absorbed the attacking play of Cheng I-Ching and turned matters to her advantage.
After securing the second game confidence grew in the heart of Zhu Yuling, self-belief drained froim the body of Cheng I-Ching.
It was the third time that Cheng I-Ching had appeared in the Women’s World Cup; in 2015 in Sendai she had been beaten in the opening round by China’s Liu Shiwen; last year in the final in Philadephia by Japan’s Miu Hirano.