by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
In Dubai matters had concluded with success for Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen in the doubles against Kim Hye Song and Ri Mi Gyong; in London Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen were once again in harness, only on this occasion it was the opening match of the fixture.
Six ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles titles to their credit plus the Grand Finals 2009 in Macao and since the Dubai encounter crowned World champions last year in Düsselforf; quite simply Li Sun, the Chinese coach, took no chances. Choe Hyon Hwa and Kim Nam Hae fought for the cause but the World champions were not to be denied; a four games win was recorded (11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-9).
“The doubles first but whether it is singles or doubles the first match is always hard, we were well prepared and we were ready for the match. I’m pleased, I think we adapted and played well.” Ding Ning
Hard fought success for China, immediately followed it was hard fought success for Zhu Yuling against the defensive skills of Kim Song I; game points had to be saved in the opener before control was asserted (15-13, 13-11, 11-7).
“It took time for me to get used to the venue, the atmosphere. It took time to adapt and Kim Song I is different from other players. The backspin was very heavy; once I’d won the first game and adapted to her style, I became more confident.” Zhu Yuling
China two-nil ahead, Ding Ning brought matters to a conclusion but not without some moments of tribulation against Kim Nam Hae, she needed four games to secure victory (11-8, 12-14, 11-2, 11-5).
“I lost the second game because I wasn’t paying attention the small points, the details; my mind wandered.” Ding Ning
Impressive from China; it was the same from Japan against the United States. Hina Hayata and Mima Ito combined to beat Amy Wang and Wu Yue (11-6, 11-5, 11-8), before Kasumi Ishikawa accounted for Lily Zhang (11-6, 11-5, 11-13, 11-4) and Mima Ito defeated Wu Yue to conclude matters (11-5, 13-15, 11-2, 16-14).
“The last match was actually very tough because I have never played my opponent before and this made it difficult for me. The key to the victory was my return of service. Our goal in this tournament is to win the tournament but practically, the Chinese team is standing between us and the title.” Mima Ito
Later in the day at 5.00pm China faces Brazil, Japan confronts Egypt.