by Ian Marshall, Editor
Fast and furious rallies, the crowd enthralled, Ding Ning secured the opening game by the minimal two point margin, after having led 10-6; a recovery but then falling short, for Zhu Yuling it was the same outcome in the second game. Ding Ning raced into a 7-2 lead, Zhu Yuling reduced the deficit to one point at 9-8 but that was the end of her success. Ding Ning led by two games to nil.
An early lead in the opening two games for Ding Ning, in the third, the game that was to prove the most crucial, Ding Ning trailed 8-10; a major chance for Zhu Yuling to reduce the deficit to one game had arisen. It was not to happen, the determination as strong as ever, Ding Ning won the next four points, a two games to nil advantage was now a three games to nil lead.
Increasingly confident, Ding Ning went ahead 6-4 in the fourth game; understandably, Zhu Yuling called “Time Out”; she levelled at 8-all but just as in the previous three games, at the crucial stages Ding Ning held the aces. She won the next three points, the title was secured.
“I’m very happy with my victory. I think I’m really fortunate have won the title on all three occasions I have played. It’s indeed something to be excited about. I think this is definitely one of my best matches this year, I have been having ups and downs over the past few months but today I played really well. I see this as a new starting point. Today, even though I was able to win four-nil, it was definitely not an easy match, especially towards the latter stages; both of us played at a very high level. I was able to stay calm and implement my strategies firmly.” Ding Ning
Ding Ning has now met Zhu Yuling on seven occasions in world ranking events, she has now won six times. At the ITTF World Tour China Open in 2015, she was beaten by Zhu Yuling in the final, the host city being Chengdu, there was to be no repeat in that city three years later.
Moreover, Ding Ning retained her unblemished record in the Women’s World Cup; it now reads played 14 matches, won 14 times; sheer perfection.
Uncle Pop 2018 ITTF Women’s World Cup: Statistics provided by Beijing Sport University