Tournaments

16 Dec 2018

Winner one year ago in Astana, China’s Chen Meng retained her Women’s Singles title at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Incheon on Sunday 16th December.

The no.6 seed, she beat colleague He Zhuojia, the no.12 seed, in five games (9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10, 11-7) to arrest the prestigious title.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Chen Meng, excelling in executing strong top spin play from both backhand and forehand, made the better start to the contest.

Continually she directed her attacking play towards the body of her opponent and when the chance arose towards the so-called indecision point, the elbow of her adversary. Notably, she was comfortable against the returns from the backhand of He Zhuoija, the side of the racket on which she uses the medium length pimpled rubber.

Exchanges at breakneck speed, the balance displayed by both players an example to all, rarely stepping around her backhand to execute a forehand top spin attacking stroke, Chen Meng established a 5-3 lead in the opening game. However, she was not able to build on the advantage; trying to force the pace of the play she made errors; He Zhuojia won the next four points but at 9-8, Chen Meng was in sight of success, the success did not accrue, she lost the next three points.

He Zhuojia had seized an opportunity when it arose; in the remainder of the contest it was the reverse, she missed her chances.

In the second game Chen Meng increased the tempo of the play; she sped into a 6-1 lead and never looked back. Matters level, in the third game, it was He Zhuojia who made the better start, she secured an 8-5 lead, she was in sight of a two games to one advantage. Chen Meng electing to serve from the centre of the table to reduce the angles, executed by her adversary, played error free, she won the next six points, a chance for He Zhuojia had gone begging.

It was to be the same in the fourth game but in a different manner. Chen Meng established a 7-1 lead, a lapse in concentration perhaps; she lost the next five points. Understandably at 7-6, she called “Time Out”, she won the next point to lead 8-6 but at 10-9 it was game point to her opponent. It was to prove the most crucial stage of the whole contest; Chen Meng won the next three points, in consecutive games, He Zhuojia had missed major opportunities.

Breathing space, in the fifth game, Chen Meng established a 4-1 lead, He Zhuojia having called “Time Out” at 2-1; to her credit He Zhuojia stuck to her task. Eventually she established a 7-6 lead but, as in the previous two games, was not able to convert the advantage; she did not win another point, Chen Meng had retained the title.

It is the 20th time since the tournament was first staged in 1996 that a player representing the People’s Republic of China has secured the Women’s Singles title at the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals; Chen Meng maintained national pride.

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World Tour 2018 Seamaster Grand Finals Chen Meng He Zhuojia
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Day 4 - Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals

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