by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Reigning World champions, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen gave China the ideal start; after some hesitant moments in the opening game when the trailed 7-9 before levelling, they won the game and then seized control (11-9, 11-7, 11-5).
“The first game, the match between Japan and Korea took so long, it was really difficult to prepare; now Zhu Yuling plays, I think we are in good hands.” Liu Shiwen.
Safe and secure, Zhu Yuling duly imposed her authority on the first two games with a degree of comfort. However, the third game was very different, after taking a “Time Out” when leading 7-6, Doo Hoi Kem emerged successful by the minimal two point margin. Zhu Yuling was now being tested, to her credit she responded, topspin the first ball on the table and proceed from that scenario was the tactic. Gradually, Zhu Yuling established control, a four games win was recorded (11-4, 11-3, 10-12, 11-6).
“I was very excited in this match, in the third game I made mistakes.” Zhu Yuling
Success for Zhu Yuling, the World Junior champion in 2010 in Bratislava and two years later in Hyderabad; she was followed by the player who won the title in 2005 in Linz and since then has won every major accolade the sport has to offer.
A certain Ding Ning entered the arena; there was a job to be done, a task to be completed; the goal was achieved. She beat Ng Wing Nam, making her first appearance in the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup, in three straight games (11-4, 11-8, 11-8).
It was mission accomplished, it was also mission accomplished for Hong Kong, they started proceedings as the no.3 seeds, a bronze medal finish was as status anticipated.
Japan awaits in the final; the contest is scheduled for 11.00am on Sunday 25th February