by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In the Kazakhstan capital city Chen Meng beat compatriot, Gu Yuting the no.5 seed, in four straight games (12-10, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9) to reserve her place in the title deciding contest; arguably the first game being the critical stage of the match.
Gu Yuting, causing Chen Meng problems with her variety of services and then following with a long, smooth top spin stroke established a 9-5 and 10-8 lead; Chen Meng promptly won the next four points and from that moment seized the initiative.
“I think this match did not seem exciting, because we are teammates so we know each other very well. We know more about how to restrict each other’s play so there aren’t many rallies in the match. Of course I’m very happy to be able to be top of the world ranking. I actually had no idea about it prior to the match. I will continue to work hard in future competitions and play well in every event.” Chen Meng
Serving from the centre of the table to reduce the effectiveness of Gu Yuting gaining an angle wide to her forehand, Chen Meng secured the second and third games before establishing a 5-3 lead in the fourth. Gu Yuting called “Time Out”. Adopting a wide variety of services, she levelled matters at 6-all and at 9-all but was never able to establish a meaningful lead.
At 10-9, Chen Meng held match point, she duly converted; a place in the final was reserved.