XU XIN & LIU SHIWEN CROWNED WORLD CHAMPIONS
The biggest event of the day saw an outstanding showdown unfold between Chinese and Japanese stars in the Mixed Doubles final, delivering the first silverware of this year’s World Championships.
2017 World Champions and third seeds in Budapest, Maharu YOSHIMURA and Kasumi ISHIKAWA (JPN) put up a strong fight, but second seeds XU Xin and LIU Shiwen (CHN) kept their cool to win 4-1 (11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9, 11-4) and claim well-deserved gold medals.
“Our opponents have made three consecutive finals at the World Championships, so we were familiar with their style of play and prepared well for this match.” XU Xin
Impressively, the Chinese duo remain unbeaten since creating their formidable partnership at last November’s Austrian Open and would appear to be in pole position now to form China’s Mixed Doubles pairing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“No doubt, I’m very happy right now. We have proved ourselves by winning this title, which gives us confidence that we have a chance to compete at Tokyo 2020. We will keep fighting.” LIU Shiwen
NEW WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPION ASSURED
A new name will be added to the list of Women’s Singles gold medallists after defending champion DING Ning (CHN) bowed out of the competition in dramatic fashion at the hands of two-time World Championships runner-up LIU Shiwen (CHN).
The world no. 1 looked to be cruising into the final when she claimed the first two games, but no. 5 LIU fought back hard to complete a 4-2 victory and avenge her loss against DING in the 2015 final (6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-0, 11-2).
CHEN Meng (CHN) came through the other Women’s Singles semi-final unscathed, as she romped to a thunderous 4-0 win over compatriot WANG Manyu (11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8) to reach her first World Championships final.
REMEMBER THE NAME!
Ranked 157th in the world and playing his first ever World Championships, the remarkable rise of AN Jaehyun (KOR) continued on Friday, beating compatriot and world no. 10 JANG Woojin in seven scintillating games (12-10, 10-12, 7-11, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10)
to secure his spot in the semi-finals.
Few would have thought that possible when the 19-year-old entered the competition in the preliminary rounds last Sunday. Since then, he has now won a grand total of eight matches, defeating some star names in the process, such as WONG Chun Ting (HKG) and Tomokazu HARIMOTO (JPN).
The youngest player to reach the semi-finals here in Budapest, AN is officially the underdog by ranking, but is gradually starting to lose that tag by virtue of his consistently impressive performances. How much more history will the teenager now make?
FALCK, LIANG & MA LONG MARCH ON
Standing between AN Jaehyun and a place in the Men’s Singles final is Mattias FALCK (SWE). The world no. 16 got the better of no. 34 Simon GAUZY (FRA) in six games (11-8, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7).
Despite levelling the scores at 1-1, the Frenchman struggled to cope with the Swede’s very aggressive playing style and could not prevent his exit from Budapest, as FALCK ended Sweden’s 20-year wait for a World Championships medal, making sure of bronze.
MA Long (CHN) proved yet again that he is back and meaning business in Budapest. The two-time World Champion continued his title defence with an emphatic 4-0 win over compatriot and world no. 3 LIN Gaoyuan (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-4).
‘The Dragon’ is now through to the semi-finals, where he will meet LIANG Jingkun (CHN), who overcame Koki NIWA (JPN) in a thrilling seven-game contest (12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5).
MORE DRAMA IN MEN’S DOUBLES
In the Men’s Doubles semi-final, MA Long and WANG Chuqin (CHN) turned on the style, as they beat fellow Chinese pair, LIANG Jingkun and LIN Gaoyuan, in four straight games (12-10, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5).
In the final, they will take on the exciting duo of Ovidiu IONESCU (ROU) and Alvaro ROBLES (ESP), who clinched an epic victory over Tiago APOLONIA and Joao MONTEIRO (POR) in their semi-final (11-6, 3-11, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8).
Their victory set a new record, as 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.
READY FOR THE WEEKEND
More medals and amazing action are in store for Day 7. Make sure you do not miss any of the action on itTV!
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