by Simon Daish
The Dragon strikes for a third time
Winner in 2015 and 2017, Ma Long ‘The Dragon’ secured an astonishing third men’s singles title on the World Championships stage in Budapest following a dazzling campaign from the Chinese legend.
Starting his journey with back-to-back victories over Aleksandar Karakasevic and Kanak Jha, Ma Long went on to account for Vladimir Samsonov, Hugo Calderano, Lin Gaoyuan, Liang Jingkun and Mattias Falck to lift the trophy for a third consecutive occasion.
Liu Shiwen finally achieves dream
Following many close attempts to claim the ultimate prize, in 2019 Liu Shiwen finally made her dreams come true as she became women’s singles World champion for the first time!
Recovering from a two games deficit to beat 2011, 2015 and 2017 champion Ding Ning at the semi-final hurdle Liu Shiwen got the better of Chen Meng one round later in an exciting contest to seal the title, finishing the match with a moving emotional response.
Shocks and upsets aplenty
Whether it be Tomislav Pucar’s astonishing win over Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Xu Xin falling to Simon Gauzy or Kasumi Ishikawa’s surprise defeat at the hands of Doo Hoi Kem, the 2019 World Championships provided spectators with plenty of upsets to digest.
However, surely the two standout names were Korea Republic’s An Jaehyun, who beat the likes of Wong Chun Ting and Tomokazu Harimoto on his way to a semi-final finish, and Mattias Falck who became the first Swedish player to appear in the men’s singles final since 1997!
Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha show incredible comeback spirit
From newcomers to World champions, incredibly that was the story of China’s Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha who defied the odds to win women’s doubles gold.
Trailing Hina Hayata and Mima Ito 0-2 in the final, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha displayed great character and fighting spirit to beat the Japanese duo 4-2 becoming World champions aged just 20 and 18 respectively.
Portuguese and Spanish pairs make history
In the men’s doubles draw history was made for two European nations as Portugal and Spain received their first World Championships medals.
Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro negotiated their way to the semi-finals to hand Portugal bronze while Spanish player Alvaro Robles and Romanian partner Ovidiu Ionescu took home silver, bested only by China’s Ma Long and Wang Chuqin.
Xu Xin crowned mixed doubles king yet again
Renowned for his achievements as a singles player, in Budapest Xu Xin showed the world that he’s pretty handy in the art of doubles too after the penhold specialist collected his second mixed doubles title at the World Championships.
Successful four years ago with Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee, this time out Xu Xin partnered Liu Shiwen to victory with the all-China combination proving too strong for 2017 World champions Maharu Yoshimura and Kasumi Ishikawa.