by Ian Marshall, Editor
Thus for the first time in the history of the tournament, since first staged in 1984 in Wuxi, the top three places were exactly the same as the previous year.
One year ago when the tournament had also been staged in Yokohama, Zhu Yuling had beaten Chen Meng in the final (12-10, 12-10, 10-12, 11-3, 11-4), Kasumi Ishikawa had secured bronze at the expense of Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching (11-9, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-7).
Furthermore, Zhu Yuling becomes the first player to win the title on three consecutive occasions, thus surpassing the records of colleagues Guo Yue and Liu Shiwen who had each won two in a row. Guo Yue won in 2008 in Sapporo and in 2009 in Hangzhou; Liu Shiwen in 2012 in Guangzhou and in 2013 in Hong Kong.
“I did not expect that I could win three in a row. The Asian Cup for me is just the qualification for World Cup. I hope I can win three consecutive times in the World Cup as well. It was a very close match. We have played against each other for over nine years. We are very, very familiar with each other. I won the match today, I feel very tired now.” Zhu Yuling
Three wins puts Zhu Yuling in second place on the all-time list; she is now just one win behind Liu Shiwen who has four such titles to her credit. In addition to 2012 and 2013, she won in 2010 in Guangzhou and in 2016 in Dubai. No other player has won the women’s title at the Asian Cup on more than three occasions.
Record set, Kasumi Ishikawa, who had lost to Feng Tianwei two days earlier in the group stage (13-11, 11-7, 11-7) was not to be left out; for the third successive year she finished in third place, a feat no other player has achieved. Moreover, it is third place for an unprecedented fifth time; additional to last year in Yokohama and 2017 in Ahmedabad, she was the bronze medallist in 2007 in Hanoi and in 2013.
Therefore, she becomes the player to win the bronze medal in the women’s events at the Asian Cup more times than any other player. She surpasses the record of Hong Kong’s Chai Po Wa who finished in third place in 1988 and 1991 in Manila, in 1989 in Beijing and in 1996 in New Delhi.
“I played Feng Tianwei two days ago at the group stage, I lost 3-0. Today’s match was super close. I was very nervous on the court. I think I played in more determined way than in the group stage, especially when it came to crucial the points. I am satisfied with my performance here in Asian Cup. I will play singles and mixed doubles at the World Championships. My goal is to win a medal there; this is my last match before World Championships; to win a bronze medal here gives me more confidence.” Kasumi Ishikawa
Success for Kasumi Ishikawa, followed success for Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem; the no.8 seed, she beat the host nation’s Miu Hirano, the no.5 seed (7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3, 11-7) to secure fifth place; Korea’s Republic’s Jeon Jihee, the no.9 seed, finishing in seventh place ahead of Chinese Taipei’s injured Cheng I-Ching, the no.4 seed.
No doubt the all who competed on the final day will be present in Chengdu for the 2019 ITTF Women’s World Cup.