13 Dec 2018

Look at the list of players who have been crowned champions at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals; for those who lived in the era it is the who’s who of the sport.
History suggests that the winners at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, commencing in Incheon on Thursday 13th December, will be from those names that appear amongst the very elite of the sport.

Furthermore, if they falter this year there will be a chance next year, there is no player on duty set to hang up their racket in the next 12 months; however, if we look back to the first ever edition of the tournament that was not the situation.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Success at the 1995 World Championships in Tianjin, thoughts of retirement but discussions with the national association, China’s Deng Yaping made the decision to continue until the 1997 World Championships in Manchester; in the interim period, two new events had appeared on the international calendar, the Women’s World Cup and ITTF World Tour Grand Finals. Deng Yaping qualified for both and won both.

At the Grand Finals staged in Tianjin, not only did she win the Women’s Singles title beating colleague Li Ju in the final (21-17, 21-17, 25-23), in addition partnering Yang Ying, she won the Women’s Doubles title; the pair overcame Korea Republic’s Park Haejung and Ryu Jihye in the final (17-21, 21-16, 21-12, 21-12).

It was to prove the only occasion when Deng Yaping would appear in the event; she is the only player to compete in the Grand Finals and never lose a single match.

Also it meant that she held the Olympic, World Championships (Women’s Singles, Women’s Team, Women’s Doubles), World Cup, World Team Cup and Grand Finals titles at the same time; no other player has held that array of titles at the same time.

Now in 2018 in Incheon, there is an opportunity for a second player to achieve to same feat; also from China, Ding Ning is the reigning Olympic and World champion (both Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles), earlier this year, she was a member of the outfit that won the Team World Cup in London, the Liebherr World Team Championships in Halmstad before succeeding at Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup in Chengdu.

Now in Incheon, can she match Deng Yaping?

World Tour 2018 Seamaster Grand Finals Ding Ning

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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals

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