by Simon Daish
Women’s Championship Division
The main event of the day came in the Women’s Championship Division as China and Japan went head-to-head at the final hurdle of the title race.
Seeded first for the 2018 competition and aiming to defending their crown, understandably the China squad entered the tie as favourites for the win but in a breathtaking start to the match it was Japan who struck first as Liu Shiwen suffered a surprise five games defeat at the hands of Mima Ito (9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12).
Looking for a quick response China neutralised the score deficit through Ding Ning, who saw off Miu Hirano without dropping a game (11-6, 12-10, 13-11) and not long after the advantage was in China’s court with Zhu Yuling proving too strong for Kasumi Ishikawa (11-4, 11-7, 11-8). Avenging her early defeat, Liu Shiwen put in a strong showing against Miu Hirano (11-6, 11-6, 12-10) to see China lift the trophy for a fourth consecutive occasion.
“It’s a pity I did not win my first match especially after I was leading; I felt it was important that I won the fourth match. I am very happy that we are the World Champions; my thanks to all the fans who came here to support us.” Liu Shiwen
“Winning today is a real team effort. I thank everyone who is involved, all the coaches and everyone who has supported us. Now we go back to China and appraise the matches.” Ding Ning
Men’s Championship Division
Sweden’s hopes of staging a major day seven upset were dashed in the semi-finals the Men’s Championship Division with the host nation losing out to China by a 3-0 score-line.
Unable to provide any real issues for the opposition, Team Sweden fell behind early in the tie following Ma Long’s straight games victory over Mattias Karlsson (11-6, 11-5, 13-11). Fan Zhendong accounted for Kristian Karlsson in the second fixture of the match (13-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2) before Xu Xin chipped in with a win against Jon Persson (11-6, 13-11, 11-5) to seal China’s spot in the final.
The team awaiting China in the final is Germany after the top seeded outfit successfully ousted Korea Republic from the competition. Germany made a slow start to the tie with Patrick Franziska losing out to Lee Sangsu in the opener (11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 5-11) but Timo Boll’s positive display against Jeoung Youngsik levelled the scores (12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5).
Not up to full fitness, Dimitrij Ovtcharov struggled to hold off Jang Woojin in the third fixture of the match (6-11, 5-11, 6-11) but Germany responded strongly yet again with Timo Boll claiming a narrow five games win over Lee Sangsu (9-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-13, 12-10). Then in dramatic style Patrick Franziska handed his team the win, beating Jeoung Youngsik by three games to one (11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9) to close out the tie.