by Simon Daish
New women’s singles champion will be crowned
A new name will be added to the list of women’s singles gold medallists after defending champion Ding Ning’s campaign concluded in dramatic fashion at the hands of two-time runner up Liu Shiwen (6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-0, 11-2).
Chen Meng came through the other semi-final encounter, posting a thunderous 4-0 victory over Wang Manyu (11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8) to reach her first World Championships final.
Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen are a formidable duo
Only competing alongside one another for the first time as a doubles pairing at the ITTF World Tour Austrian Open in November last year, but the Chinese duo of Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen appear to have struck the perfect partnership and will leave Budapest with the first trophy up for grabs at the World Championships.
At the final hurdle of the mixed doubles tournament Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen toppled 2017 champions Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa in an exciting five games contest (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4).
Young guns aren’t intimidated
Both making their World Championships debuts in Budapest but Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun and China’s Liang Jingkun are now major contenders in the men’s singles title race.
Required to begin his journey in the qualification groups An Jaehyun, 19, is the youngest player through to the last four following another sensational display, this time at the expense of fellow countryman Jang Woojin (12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10). As for 22-year-old Liang Jingkun he sealed his place in the semi-finals courtesy of a 4-3 win against Japan’s Koki Niwa (12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5).
Ma Long awaits Liang Jingkun in the penultimate round after the defending champion overwhelmed Lin Gaoyuan by a 4-0 margin (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4).
Sweden is back!
20 years on from the country’s last medal success on the World Championships stage Sweden has returned to international glory with Mattias Falck bringing the country’s long wait for a podium finish to an end in Budapest.
Taking on France’s Simon Gauzy in an all-European affair Mattias Falck showed great composure throughout the match, emerging victorious by an impressive 4-1 score-line (11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7).
Robles and Ionescu enjoy breaking records
Making headlines on Day Five when Alvaro Robles became the first Spanish player to secure a World Championships medal, on Day Six he and Romanian partner Ovidiu Ionescu set a new record.
Negotiating their semi-final encounter with Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro (11-6, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8), Spain will now be represented at the final hurdle on the World Championships stage for the first time while Romania’s presence in the men’s doubles final is also a first.
Ma Long and Wang Chuqin will oppose the mixed association pair in the gold medal match, coming through their all-China meeting with Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5).