by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Victory for Wang Manyu in the all Chinese duel; in the immediately ensuing penultimate round contest it was success for compatriot, Sun Yingsha; required to compete in the qualification tournament, she accounted for Chinese Taiei’s Chen Szu-Yu, the no.5 seed (11-5, 11-8, 11-5, 11-13, 11-7).
Safe and sure, especially from the backhand and well aware of the potent Chen Xingtong fast forehand, ahead two games to one, Wang Manyu established an 8-3 lead in the fourth game; trying to force the pace, Chen Xingtong was making errors, especially from her backhand.
However, she won the next two points, Wang Manyu rather surprisingly called “Time Out”; it appeared a rather over cautious move and as Chen Xingtong won the game, one wondered if Wang Manyu had not made a major error of judgement. Chen Xingtong had responded at the crucial time, in the fifth game she almost repeated another escape. Leading 6-2 but then trailing 8-10 she won the next three points before Wang Manyu eventually stood firm.
Winning the close fifth game appeared to give Wang Manyu an injection of confidence; in the sixth game she went ahead 5-1 but again Chen Xingtong recovered, a deciding seventh game beckoned. Once again Wang Manyu established a 5-1 lead, Chen Xingtong reduced the arrears to two points at 7-5 but she was to win no more; Wang Manyu was not to be denied.
“The match was a very intensive and hard for me, we both played at a very high level .The turning point of the match was in game five when I recovered from being 2-6 down. I felt I could win this match.” Wang Manyu
“We played a match which went the full distance; I was not stable enough so it went the other way today.” Chen Xingtong
A seven games duel, the counterpart semi-final was somewhat different. Sun Yingsha proved that one step ahead in every department against Chen Szu-Yu; she made full use of the table, time and again changing direction at lightning speed. The one ray of hope for Chen Szu-Yu came in the fourth game, an encounter she won on her seventh game point, having at one stage being 10-5 ahead.
Alas for Chinese Taipei, there was to be no memorable recovery; at 10-7 in the fifth game, Sun Yingsha held three match points, she needed the just one.
“I was prepared for a hard match, so I was ready mentally for a big fight. I played tactically very well . I am looking forward to a high quality match in the final between myself and my team mate.” Sun Yingsha
“I am really please with my overall performance in Budapest. I like the venue her a lot as it is very close to the accommodation and this allows you to prepare good for every single match very easily.” Chen Szu-Yu
The Women’s Singles final will take place on Sunday 21st January; play commences at 3.00pm (local time) with the title deciding contest in the Women’s Doubles event.