by Simon Daish
The stakes are high right from the start of play with the mixed doubles final getting underway from 12.00pm local time. Impressive throughout the course of the competition China’s Ma Long and Wang Chuqin will be the hot favourites to lift the trophy but Romania’s Ovidiu Ionescu and Spain’s Alvaro Robles have completely defied expectations so far in Budapest and will put up a brave fight.
Then at approximately 1.00pm we’re treated to the second gold medal match of the day as Liu Shiwen and Chen Meng attempt to add their names to the list of women’s singles champions.
In nine previous head-to-head meetings Chen Meng has emerged victorious on seven occasions and hasn’t suffered defeat to her fellow compatriot since 2013! However, Liu Shiwen has experienced the pressures of appearing in a World Championships final before, finishing runner up in 2013 and 2015 – who will be immortalized in World Championships history when these two Giants clash?
After we’ve had a few hours to process all the drama from the opening two fixtures of the day the action resumes with two cracking semi-final encounters.
First up at 5.00pm we’ll see defending champion Ma Long and rising star Liang Jingkun facing off against one another in only their second international meeting: last year at the ITTF World Tour event in Shenzhen it was Ma Long who held the upper hand by a narrow 4-3 margin but who will be celebrating this time around?
The second semi-final is shrouded in an air of unpredictability as Sweden’s Mattias Falck opposes Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun at 6.00pm. A win for either competitor will carry a great deal of significance: victory for Mattias Falck will see him become the first Swedish player to reach the men’s singles final since Jan-Ove Waldner’s title winning campaign in 1997 and the first European since 2003 while success for An Jaehyun would see Korea’s 16 year wait for for a spot in the final come to an end.
Two further matches are also scheduled for Day Seven as the number of partnerships left in the race for women’s doubles glory whittles down from four to two. At 7.00pm Hina Hayata and Mima Ito welcome the defensively-minded pair of Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato before Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling take on Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu at 8.00pm – Japan and China are assured of success but which players will progress?
Be sure to watch the action unfold live with itTV and follow the live blog throughout the course of the day for all the latest from Budapest.