by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
A rhythm to the play established and a patient approach, Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling established their authority on proceedings after a close first game; great credit must go to Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato but when crisis loomed, the big points, the Chinese duo was always the favourite.
Trailing by three games to nil, in the fourth Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling established a 4-1 lead; Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato called “Time Out” and returned courtside to discuss matters with Saki Shibata, deputising for Mika Baba who was involved on the adjacent court, directing the fortunes of Hina Hayata and Mima Ito.
The break was understandable but Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling were in control; a place in the final was duly reserved.
“I think the result was normal, we entered the match in a confident mood. We have come here with the goal to take the title. We didn’t play well in the last World Tour event in the doubles, so we are determined to win this time round.” Chen Meng
Success for Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling; it was also success for the pair against whom they had experienced defeat in the final of the Women’s Doubles event at the recent Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm.
After losing the opening game against Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching, the runners up one year ago in Doha, a more positive approach saw Hina Hayata and Mima Ito capture the second game but then lose the third. In the fourth game they led 8-6, the stage at which they called “Time Out”. The decision realised immediate success, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito won the next two points to lead 10-6; immediately, Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching responded to capture the next four points. However, they recovery was not to be completed, the Japanese duo secured the next two points and established parity.
It was a crucial stage of the contest, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito won the fifth game and on their fourth match point, secured victory one game later.
The Women’s Doubles final is scheduled for 2.00pm (local time) on Sunday 17th December.