by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Chen Meng made the perfect start, it could not have been better.
In the opening game she established an 8-3 lead, eventually at 10-5 holding four game points before converting at the second attempt; in the second game she was even more dominant, she went ahead 7-1 before surrendering just two more points in her way to establishing a two games lead.
Zhu Yuling was a shadow of the player we had seen the previous day when beating colleagues Wang Manyu and Chen Xingtong; Chen Meng seized the initiative time and again, her adversary forced into the passive role.
Two games to nil ahead, in the third the pattern was only marginally different, the two protagonists stood level at 3-all before Chen Meng moved into an 8-5 lead, prior to extending the advantage to 10-5; a point for a three-nil lead. It was duly seized.
Nothing was going right for Zhu Yuling, any fortune went the way of Chen Meng; Zhu Yuling was disconsolate, not only had she to fight against Chen Meng, she had to fight against herself.
The level of consistency associated with Zhu Yuling returned to some extent in the fourth game, she established an 8-5 lead but immediately Chen Meng responded. She won the next three points before, after moving Zhu Yuling totally out of position, she missed an absolute sitter. She trailed 8-9.
Would the glaring miss affect Cheng Meng? The answer was clear, resolute Chen Meng levelled before holding match point at 10-9, the first match point was saved, not the second; for the first time in her career Cheng Meng had won the Women’s Singles title at a Grand Finals.
“Actually I was prepared to play the full seven games against Zhu Yuling. We have faced each other previously this year and even though I won that match too, it wasn’t an easy win, so today I came fully prepared, but maybe there’s also some luck involved here.” Chen Meng
She becomes the 12th player representing the People’s Republic of China to achieve the feat; she follows in the footsteps of Deng Yaping, Ding Ning, Guo Yan, Guo Yue, Li Ju, Li Xiaoxia, Liu Shiwen, Niu Jianfeng, Wang Nan, Zhang Yining and Zhu Yuling.