by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Success for Zhang Rui and her second such success in recent times, some eight weeks ago at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hybiome Austria Open in Linz, she emerged successful but in somewhat different circumstances.
On that occasion she beat Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yi-Hua at the quarter-final stage prior the ending the hopes of Japan by overcoming Kyoka Kato and Miyu Maeda. In Stockholm, at the quarter-final stage it was again Japan who suffered, she beat Minami Ando but then in the next two rounds it was familiar faces. Prior to clinching the title at the expense of Wang Yidi, in the penultimate earlier in the day, she had defeated colleague Chen Ke.
“I think it was slightly more difficult winning in Austria; there I had to play foreign players who I didn’t know, here in the last two rounds it was colleagues who I practise against and know well. In the final I tried to play with speed; in the fourth game as I knew I had a chance to win, I had to force myself to stay calm.” Zhang Rui
A second career Under 21 ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles title for Zhang Rui in two finals; for Park Ganghyeon it was a third title in four finals. Previously in 2016 he had won in Austria but had been the runner up in Belarus; earlier this year he had emerged successful in Australia.
“Today I played from the heart, I felt in good shape, good mentally but every game was close, he kept changing the play.” Park Ganghyeon
Titles for Park Ganghyeon and Zhang Rui, two smiling faces, lighting up the dark Stockholm nights.