by Ian Marshall, Editor
The line up once again underlines the incredible depth of talent present in the People’s Republic of China but in that group one name stands out; one name who has to her credit ITTF World Tour women’s singles titles and does lay claim to a record.
Feng Yalan, now 29 years old is the player in question; the young lady who in 2006 in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo won the girls’ singles title at the World Junior Championships.
Thus she added her name to the record books, four years later she created a record; at the 2010 ITTF World Tour German Open in Berlin, she won the under 21 women’s singles title, accounting for the defensive skills of colleague Wu Yang in the final. One day later, she added to her collection, she secured the women’s singles title beating another colleague to reserve the top step of the podium. She accounted for a certain Ding Ning.
Notably, it was the first time any player had won the under 21 women’s singles title at an ITTF World Tour tournament and had then progressed to secure the women’s singles crown; for ever more the name of Feng Yalan is etched in the annals of sport.
Later in 2012, she was also to win on the ITTF World Tour in Kuwait and in Ekaterinburg; in the former beating Korea Republic’s Kim Kyungah in the final, in the latter compatriot Chang Chenchen, also a World junior champion, she won in 2004 in Kobe.
Now at the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open, it would seem that the Feng Yalan challenge is gathering pace, the adage of win a close match and confidence grows ringing in the ears.
In the opening preliminary round she beat Austria’s Yui Hamamoto in seven games (11-1, 11-13, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-3); she followed with success against Singapore’s Zeng Jian (11-2, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5) and Puerto Rico’s Adrian Diaz (11-7, 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8) to reserve her place in the main draw. The good form continued, she accounted for colleague Chen Xingtong, the no.10 seed and runner up one year ago. Most impressively she won in straight games (11-9, 13-11, 11-6, 16-14).
It is that latter win which gives food for thought, accepted the two players are colleagues but Feng Yalan, powerful was able to cope with the major quality exerted by Chen Xingtong; that of speed. In the second round of the women’s singles event, Feng Yalan faces another player renowned for speed; she opposes Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.4 seed.
Make a note in your diary, it could prove very interesting.