by Simon Daish
The match began as anticipated with Fan Zhendong making a quick start out of the blocks, claiming the opening game by a five-point margin but Wang Chuqin then threw a spanner in the works with a narrow win in the following game.
Once again Fan Zhendong reclaimed the lead, coming out on top in game three with a positive response but it was the fourth end which delivered the most drama.
Trailing 7-10 Wang Chuqin held his nerve, winning three points in a row to level the scores at 10 points each. Qualifier Wang Chuqin then held a game point of his own at 12-11 only to eventually lose out by a 12-14 scoreline, as Fan Zhandong moved to within a game win from the title.
Throughout the course of the match Wang Chuqin impressed spectators with his attacking capabilities and proved to be a worthy challenger for the trophy but Fan Zhendong just proved too strong with the top seed earning a comfortable win in the sixth game to secure the gold medal.
“I was expecting a very hard match at a high level, both of us played very well. I managed to win the important fourth game and I took the momentum from it. It’s a very good start to the year and a nice way to celebrate my birthday.” Fan Zhendong
Fan Zhendong has now appeared in 14 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles finals, winning the title on nine occasions with his previous trophy success coming at the SheSays 2016 China Open. Victory in Budapest also comes as an early birthday present for Fan Zhendong, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Monday 22nd January.
Disappointment for Wang Chuqin in what was his first ever final on the ITTF World Tour but he can leave Budapest with his head held high and will take plenty of confidence into the upcoming Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.