Triple crown for Xu Xin
Men’s Singles: Final
China’s Xu Xin has become only the second player to win a coveted triple crown in the history of the ITTF World Tour after adding the men’s singles title to his mixed doubles and men’s doubles successes in Sapporo.
Taking on the exciting young prospect that is Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju in the final, Xu Xin moved two games ahead thanks to a mini recovery in game two which saw the third seed save two game point opportunities. No.16 seed Lin Yun-Ju did form a response in game three but Xu Xin denied his teenage opponent any further opportunities to exploit as the master of penhold came out on top 4-1 (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8).
Sun Yingsha crowned champion once again
Women’s Singles: Final
Claiming her first women’s singles title at the Seamaster 2017 Japan Open in Tokyo, two years later in Sapporo and it’s Sun Yingsha who has emerged as champion for a second time on Japanese soil following a thrilling final against Liu Shiwen.
Establishing an early 2-0 lead qualifier Sun Yingsha made the stronger start of the two finalists but not long after it was Liu Shiwen who held the advantage with the World champion earning three games in a row to move 2-3 ahead. Down on the scorecard and with momentum against her but 18-year-old Sun Yingsha remained calm, responding with back-to-back game wins to prevail by a 4-3 margin (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3).
Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin seal gold
Men’s Doubles: Final
At the final hurdle of the men’s doubles event it was China’s Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin who emerged as champions with the no.6 seeded pair proving too strong for German qualifiers Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang (12-10, 11-9, 11-7).
Success in Sapporo marks Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin’s third title-winning display as a pair while the latter player collects his second men’s doubles gold of the year having partnered Liang Jingkun to victory at the season opener in Budapest.
Seniority not status prevails
Women’s Doubles: Final
Seniority prevailed, Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen, the no.5 seeds, beat Chinese national team colleagues, Sing Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the top seeds, to win the women’s doubles title. They succeeded in four games (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9).
Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen seized the initiative from the very start; both were very severe on the opening attacking strokes. It was their second career ITTF World Tour women’s doubles win as a partnership; in 2015 they had won on home soil in Chengdu.
Xu Xin beats Fan Zhendong
Men’s Singles: Semi-Final
An all Chinese men’s singles semi-final, the verdict went in favour of Xu Xin, the no.3 seed, he beat Fan Zhendong, the top seed, in seven games (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 11-3).
The contest ebbed and flowed, Fan Zhendong electing for “Time Out” when leading 8-5 in the fifth, Xu Xin following suit when ahead 8-6 in the sixth game. Crucially in the seventh game, Xu Xin came out all guns blazing; at the change of ends he led 5-1; Fan Zhendong reduced the arrears to 6-3 but that was the last success he was to enjoy.
Touch of class
Men’s Singles: Semi-Final
Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju, the no.16 seed, beat China’s Sun Wen (6-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4) to reserve his place in the men’s singles final.
After losing the opening game, Lin Yun-Ju found a rhythm to his play, his control outstanding, he won the first nine points of the second game. He secured the third and fourth games being able to match Sun Wen in every department. In the fifth game, Sun Wen established a 4-2 lead, he didn’t win another point.
World champion books final place
Women’s Singles: Semi-Final
China’s Liu Shiwen, the no.4 seed, beat the host nation’s Miu Hirano, the no.9 seed (9-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10) to book her place in the women’s singles final.
Advice from Ma Lin, the Beijing 2008 Olympic champion, Liu Shiwen imposed her authority on proceedings after losing the opening game; Miu Hirano had any opportunity to reduce the deficit when leading 10-8 in the fifth game. Liu Shiwen responded, won four points in a row to end matters.
It was the seventh time when Liu Shiwen and Miu Hirano had met on the international stage, it was the seventh time Liu Shiwen had prevailed.
Women’s Singles: Semi-Final
Sun Yingsha beat Chinese national team colleague, Chen Meng, the no.2 seed (5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6); thus she repeated the performance of two years’ earlier when in 2017 she had beaten Chen Meng in the final. The defeat meant the run of success enjoyed this year came to an end, previously she had won in Budapest and in Shenzhen.
Quick short efficient attacking strokes from Sun Yingsha proved a telling factor; crucially in the fourth game Chen Meng called “Time Out” at 12-all but then lost the next two points; itbvwas the pivotal stage of the contest.
Order of Play (Local Times)
10.00 am Semi-Final: Women’s Singles – Sun Yingsha (CHN) v Chen Meng (CHN)
10.50 am Semi-Final: Women’s Singles – Miu Hirano (JPN) v Liu Shiwen (CHN)
11.40 am Semi-Final: Men’s Singles – Sun Wen (CHN) v Lin Yun-Ju (TPE)
12.30 am Semi-Final: Men’s Singles – Fan Zhendong (CHN) v Xu Xin (CHN)
1.20 pm Final: Women’s Doubles – Sun Yingsha / Wang Manyu (CHN) v Chen Meng / Liu Shiwen (CHN)
2.10 pm Final: Men’s Doubles – Fan Zhendong / Xu Xin (CHN) v Benedikt Duda / Qiu Dang (GER)
4.00 pm Final: Women’s Singles
5.15 pm Final: Men’s Singles