15 Jul 2019

The very elite names were present in Geelong for the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open, but there were two notable absentees, players who have reserved the podium's top step.

China’s Wang Yidi, the winner one month ago in Hong Kong, was not in attendance; similarly, Yu Ziyang victrious in Japan in 2014 was not on duty, the reason, they were competing in the 30th Universiade in Naples; proceedings concluding on Thursday 11th July.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Each completed a clean sweep of titles.

Wang Yidi won the women’s singles, partnered Fan Siqi to women’s doubles gold and Yu Ziyang to the top step of the mixed doubles podium; similarly Yu Ziyang concluded matters by clinching the top prize in the men’s singles event, having earlier enjoyed men’s team and with Zhao Zihao, men’s doubles success.

In the women’s team event, at the final hurdle against Japan; success for Wang Yidi in opposition to Hatsune Maetaki in the opening match of the engagement (13-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-6) and in the fourth and concluding contest when facing Minami Ando (9-11, 14-12, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8) proved the backbone of the Chinese victory. The one further Chinese success was secured by Fan Siqi against Saki Seyama (12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6); for Japan, Minami Ando accounted for Zhang Rui (11-6, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 14-12).

Earlier, at the semi-final stage fielding the same three players, China had recorded a 3-0 win against the French outfit comprising Pauline Chasselin, Marie Migot and Oceane Guisnel; by the same margin in the counterpart penultimate round contest, with Asuka Sasao preferred to Saki Seyama, Japan had beaten the Russian combination of Maria Malanina, Yana Noskova and Valeria Shcherbatykh.

Impressive from China in the women’s team event, it was the same from their male colleagues; Zhu Linfeng and Zhao Zihao lining up alongside Yu Ziyang.

At the semi-final stage a resounding 3-0 win was recorded against the German trio of Qiu Lang, Nils Hohmeier and Florian Bluhm, before the same margin of victory was recorded in the final against Chinese Tapei’s Yang Heng-Wei, Peng Wang-Wei and Wang Tai-Wei.

At the final hurdle, Zhu Linfeng gave China the perfect start by beating Yang Heng-Wei (13-11, 11-9, 11-6), Yu Ziyang followed suit by defeating Peng Wang-Wei (11-5, 12-10, 5-11, 13-11), before Zhao Zihao sealed the victory. He accounted for Wang Tai-Wei (11-5, 11-8, 11-9).

In the corresponding semi-final, with Liao Cheng-Ting preferred to Pang Wang-Wei, Chinese Taipei had recorded a 3-1 win against Japan’s Fumiya Igarashi, Yusuke Sadamatsu and Asuka Saki.

Success, later in the week, Yu Ziyang and Wang Yidi joined forces to win mixed doubles gold, the pair accounting for Zhao Zihao and Fan Siqi in the final (11-8, 11-3, 11-6, 9-11, 11-7), having one round earlier ousted Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Su Pei-Ling (11-4, 7-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-1, 11-5). In the counterpart semi-final Zhao Zhihao and Fan Siqi had beaten Russia’s Sadi Ismailov and Yana Noskova (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-9).

Two titles secured, Yu Ziyang partnered Zhao Zihao to men’s doubles success; the pair overcoming Kong Lingxuan and Zhu Linfeng in the final (7-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 13-11), after having recorded a penultimate round success against Fumiya Igarashi and Asuka Saki (11-8, 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-3, 11-8). In the adjacent semi-final Kong Lingxuan and Zhu Linfeng had also ended Japanese opposition. They beat Yusuke Sadamatsu and Yuma Tsuboi (11-4, 4-11, 11-13, 11-8, 11-8, 11-8).

Impressive from China, it was no different in the women’s doubles; Wang Yidi beat Guo Yan and Zhang Rui to secure the top step of the podium (11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4). Earlier, to reserve their places in the final, Fan Siqi and Wang Yidi had beaten Russia’s Yana Noskova and Valeria Shcherbatykh (11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6); Guo Yan and Zhang Rui had ended the hopes of Japan’s Minami Ando and Asao Sasao (11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-4, 11-4).

Success upon success; the tournament concluded in the same vein. Yu Ziyang, after beating Sadi Ismailov (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6), secured the men’s singles title at the expense of Zhao Zihao (11-7, 11-8, 11-8, 11-5). Similarly, Wang Yidi beat Zhang Rui (11-7, 11-4, 11-2, 11-6) to claim the women’s singles first prize, the win following success in opposition to Guo Yan (11-6, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8). In the adjacent semi-finals, in the men’s singles event Zhao Zihao had accounted for Zhu Linfeng (11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 11-9, 11-9), in the women’s competition Zhang Rui had beaten Fan Siqi (11-4, 11-2, 8-11, 15-17, 11-7, 11-7),

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