by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
In the world of male table tennis the star of putting one more on the table than your opponent and succeeding when your adversary has the advantage is Fan Zhendong; for the women my vote goes to Wang Manyu.
It was very much that skill which enabled Wang Manyu to record an impressive win; notably Wang Manyu plays from a very central position; thus able to cover the angles her opponent may achieve. Equally it enables her to play her favoured forehand.
Moreover, there is an air of confidence in the persona of Wang Manyu; she believes she can win the Women’s Singles event in Doha, her performance again Chen Meng suggests that outcome is more than possible.
She established a three games to one lead, before winning the first four points of the fifth game. Chen Meng called “Time Out”, she had little choice. Wang Manyu extended the lead to 10-4, six match points, Chen Meng saved two match points, Wang Manyu called “Time Out”. The decision bore fruit; Wang Manyu won the next point, once again a Doha final awaited.
“It seemed it an easy match when you look at the result but I had a lot of difficulties to overcome; today I was able to take my chances and when I lost two or three points in a row I was able to recover.” Wang Manyu
Consistency, the extra degree of consistency exerted by Wang Manyu was the key to success; it was also a vital factor in the contest between Kasumi Ishikawa and Liu Shiwen.
Throughout the first three games, Kasumi Ishikawa matched Liu Shiwen in that department. In the fourth game Liu Shiwen established a 4-1 lead; she was exerting her authority on proceedings. Mika Baba, the Japanese national coach sitting courtside called “Time Out”. The break had effect, the gap was down to one point at 8-7; now Liu Shiwen called for the break, a moment to think, she returned and lost just one more point
She was now in the ascendancy; confidence blossomed, the fifth game and a place in the final was secured.
The final of the Women’s Singles event will be staged in the afternoon of Sunday 11th March.