by Ian Marshall, Editor
One year ago when the men’s world rankings were issued, the 22 year old who we first saw at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Rabat, was listed at no.80; now he stands at no.16.
The elevation reflects the progress made especially in the past six months, since he reached the final of the men’s singles event at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Shinhan Korea Open in Daejeon in late July. He was beaten in the final by the host nation’s Jang Woojin, a young man who on that occasion was simply in the zone.
Later in the year he was to reach the quarter-finals in Sweden, losing to Fan Zhendong, before in Austria winning the men’s singles title. At the Grand Finals in Incheon, after ousting Germany’s Timo Boll in the opening round, he was beaten by Japan’s Jun Mizutani. Now in 2019, after experiencing a second round defeat in Hungary when confronting Xu Xin; at the ensuing Seamaster 2019 ITTF Challenge Series Portugal Open he emerged the winner.
In the final against Lin Gaoyuan, critically he won the crucial points in the second and third games to clinch the title, (6-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-7, 11-6). He responded at the crucial times; similarly in Sweden in the final qualification round, he trailed Korea Republic’s Park Ganghyeon by three games to nil, he recovered to win the next three.
The power executed by Liang Jingkun is his trademark but now more consistent, more assured, he is ever more reliable, ever more safe in his play; those facts could see his debut realized in a men’s singles event at a World Championships. Moreover, could it witness a place on the podium?