by Ian Marshall, Editor
On the adjacent table, the all Chinese clash witnessed success for Wang Manyu, the no.6 seed, in opposition to Ding Ning, the no.2 seed, the reigning Olympic and World champion (11-5, 9-11, 2-11, 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7).
“I am very sad about my performance because I knew exactly what to do but I couldn’t deliver. After some mistakes it was very hard for me to correct my errors.” Ding Ning
Notably it is the third time this year that He Zhuoija has reached the penultimate round on the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour, on both previous occasions the place in the final having been denied by colleagues; in Hong Kong by Chen Xingtong, in Australia by Liu Shiwen.
However, more significantly, the result means that she has qualified for the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals which commence in Incheon, Korea Republic on Thursday 13th November.
Competing in Linz means she has met the minimum five appearance criteria for the year; having started tournament in 17th place (279 points), she now comfortably appears amongst the top 16 names.
Meanwhile, Wang Manyu, who commenced matters in top spot on the Standings (1,556 points), very much solidifies her place at the head of the list and adds another fine performance to her list of successes this year.
“I have played few times against Ding Ning and I feel like I have progressed. Today I was able to win against Olympic and world champion which is very special to me. Ding Ning was under pressure and I could stay relaxed as an underdog.” Wang Manyu
A quarter-final finish just under one year ago at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Astana; this year she won in Hungary, Hong Kong and on home soil in China, whilst being the runner up in Qatar and in Japan. The only occasions when she has not progressed to the final have been in the Korea Republic in July and last week in the same round in Sweden, on both occasions quarter-final exits, on both occasions losing to colleagues.
In the former she was beaten by Liu Shiwen, in the latter by Chen Meng.
The quarter-final contests in the opposite half of the draw between China’s Zhu Yuling and Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem, alongside Liu Shiwen and Chen Meng will commence play on Saturday 10th November.
Sunday 4th November: Standings following the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open