by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
An all Chinese final witnessed success for Yuan Licen by the very narrowest of margins against Xu Haidong (11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-13, 13-11, 9-11, 11-9) in a contest that ebbeded and flowed.
However, one wondered if Yuan Licen had spurned his chance, leading two games to one, he led 10-8 and 11-10 in the fourth but was unable to convert. Equally in the seventh game, it seemed he was in danger of losing the advantage. He led 7-5, but then lost the next three points, promptly he called “Time Out”, he levelled before at 10-9 holding match point and duly converting.
Tension, victory by the very narrowest of margins, for Zhang Binyue life was less exacting; she accounted for Thailand’s Jinnipa Sawettabut in five games (11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5).
Overall, Zhang Binyue held the aces at the crucial time, she proved too consistent playing in a very safe manner; time and again the first attack was loaded with top spin; it put Jinnipa Sawettabut under pressure and into the passive role.
Success for Yuan Licen in an all Chinese final; it was the same for Li Yuqi and for Xiang Peng but in much more comfortable circumstances; straight games verdicts were the order the day.
Lin Yuqi beat Kuai Man (11-8, 12-10, 11-5), the crucial phase of the contest being the second game where at one stage Li Yuqi led 10-4, before taking a “Time Out” at 10-8 and eventually succeeding.
A nervous moment for Li Yuqi; there were no such travails for Xiang Peng, a forehand top spin at every possible opportunity and victory against Xiong Mengyang was secured (11-6, 11-4, 11-7).
Impressive from China; once again technical excellence shone.