by Ian Marshall, Editor
Alongside Wang Manyu; Chen Ke, Chen Xingtong and Wang Yidi formed the quartet that won gold in the girls’ team event at the 2015 World Junior Championships in La Roche sur Yon.
In addition Wang Manyu beat Wang Yidi in the girls’ singles final, Chen Ke and Wang Manyu secured girls’ doubles gold, Xue Fei and Chen Ke overcame Wang Chuqin and Chen Xingtong to clinch the mixed doubles top prize.
Wang Manyu, not present in Hong Kong this year, is the member of that group who has made the most progress in the senior ranks, five ITTF World Tour women’s singles titles; Chen Xingtong, twice a winner, departed in round one this year losing to colleague, Feng Yalan.
However, both Wang Yidi and Chen Ke appear in action on the concluding day of play in Hong Kong; Wang Yidi is in search of her first ITTF World Tour title at senior level, for Chen Ke she has enjoyed women’s doubles success partnering Wang Manyu, they won in Incheon in 2014 and in Doha in 2018.
In Hong Kong can Wang Yidi claim a first? Her speed, especially from the backhand has been a major key in her success en route to the final; it is exactly the same from the player she meets in the final and that is the question posed. Can she match the speed of Mima Ito, the no.2 seed? Once the Japanese teenager establishes a fast rhythm to her play, opponents of whatever calibre are in trouble.
The women’s singles title the goal for Wang Yidi, for Chen Ke the target is women’s doubles gold, she partners compatriot, Mu Zi, the winner of five ITTF World Tour women’s doubles titles dating back to 2009 when she partnered Li Xiaodan to success in Bremen. In the Hong Kong final they meet Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yoo Eunchong ; amongst the quartet Jeon Jihee is the most successful owning nine ITTF World Tour women’s doubles titles, seven partnering Yang Haeun. Conversely for Yoo Eunchong it is her first such final.
Now four years later can the class of 2015 succeed once again? Japan and Korea Republic may have other ideas.