by Simon Daish
With four players left standing in the competition the first items on the agenda were two semi-finals fixtures, both of which resulted in positive outcomes for China.
The opening tie of the day saw the top seed Zhu Yuling comfortably negotiate a meeting with fifth seed Cheng I-Ching, requiring just four games to defeat the Chinese Taipei representative (11-4, 11-9, 11-3, 11-4).
Down in the lower half of the draw Liu Shiwen put in a fantastic performance to beat the defending champion Miu Hirano (11-5, 11-7, 11-1, 11-6), who quite simply struggled to identify a key weakness in the Chinese star’s game.
Two matches remained, the first of which was the battle for the third spot on the podium as the two defeated semi-finalists went head-to-head.
In a repeat of last year’s final Miu Hirano and Cheng I-Ching met once again, but this time it was the latter player who prevailed by a four games to two scoreline (8-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8) to seal third position in Markham.
Then it was time for the main event as Zhu Yuling and Liu Shiwen took to the table for an all-China final.
Liu Shiwen made the faster start out of the blocks, coming out on top in the opening two games but Zhu Yuling responded well with victories in games three and four to level the scores at two games apiece.
The contest then began to really heat up and took a rather dramatic turn with Liu Shiwen edging to a 10-12 win in the fifth end after the umpire called one of Zhu Yuling’s shots long.
Despite the persistent appeals of Zhu Yuling, who was adamant that the ball clipped the edge of the table, the decision ultimately stood to leave the top seed trailing by a game. However, Zhu Yuling refused to give up the fight and successfully managed to force a deciding end.
Holding a championship point at 9-10 in the final game the advantage was in Liu Shiwen’s favour but the second seed failed to convert the opportunity and instead it was Zhu Yuling who triumphed, recovering three consecutive points to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10).
Zhu Yuling lifts the trophy for the first time in her career on what was her second appearance at the event, subsequently becoming the first player to inflict defeat upon Liu Shiwen on the Women’s World Cup stage.
- Main Draw (PDF)