Tournaments

19 Sep 2019

The example set by their female counterparts the previous day, China won the men’s team title at the 2019 Asian Championships in Yogyakarta on the evening of Wednesday 18th September; at the final hurdle, occupying the top seeded position, they overcame Korea Republic, the no.2 seeds, to reserve the highest step of the podium.

Just as in the women’s competition every fixture was resolved by the 3-0 score line; in an emphatic manner the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games place was secured.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In the title deciding contest the combination formed by Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Liang Jingkun showed no charity in opposition to Jang Woojin, Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu.

Xu Xin set matters in motion by beating Jang Woojin (11-3, 11-7, 11-9), before Fan Zhendong accounted for Jeoung Youngsik (11-8, 11-9, 11-7). Liang Jingkun brought matters to a conclusion by overcoming Lee Sangsu (11-8, 11-7, 11-5).

“This victory is crucial to our team. It helps to increase morale and confidence. I hope this title will give me more power and confidence to play the following singles events.” Fan Zhendong

“This is my first time to get the chance to play in a semi-final and final at team events. I am satisfied with my performance. I won all my matches. It is a recognition to myself.” Liang Jingkun

“I feel safe with Ma Long around but without Ma Long, we can still make our coach feel secure. No matter which players are not here, we will definitely win as always and make all our fans happy!” Xu Xin

Hesitant start

Earlier at the semi-final stage, China had accounted for Japan; Xu Xin making a now trademark hesitant start before eventually overcoming Tomokazu Harimoto in four games (5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10).

“I did not do well in receiving today. I had my chance in the second game but did not manage to take it to set up a 2-0 lead. The match was really tough. I did better than last time, but the result was the same. A defeat is a defeat. I still need to think a lot when back to hotel.” Tomokazu Harimoto

Success for Xu Xin was followed by the same for Fan Zhendong against Maharu Yoshimura (13-11, 11-8, 11-6) and for Liang Jingkun in opposition to Kazuhiro Yoshimura (11-6, 14-12, 11-1).

“The first match was very important. Tomokazu Harimoto is their number one player and he had never beaten Xu Xin before. So we were confident in this match. Today Xu Xin entered into the match rhythm a bit slower, especially in the first game but he is experienced in international events, so he still controlled the match. The first point was crucial to Team China. In the second match, Fan performed not as well as we expected, especially in controlling the match rhythm. He was just stronger than Maharu Yoshimura. In the third match, I could feel the nerves and stress from Liang Jingkun; this was his first time playing in such an important match. He performed really well today.” Qin Zhijian

A 3-0 win for China, it was the same for Korea Republic but harder earned against the no.3 seeds, the Chinese Taipei trio of Liao Cheng-Ting, Chen Chien-An and Wang Tai-Wei. In a closely fought five games contest decided by the very narrowest of margins, Jeoung Youngsik beat Liao Chen-Ting (7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10). Immediately following, Jang Woojin overcame Chen Chien-An (11-9, 11-9, 11-9), Lee Sangsu accounted for Wang Tai-Wei (11-6, 12-10, 11-9).

Adding to collection

Success for China, it was no less than the 22nd time they have won the event since organised under the auspices of the Asian Table Tennis Union in 1972. In fact they have only surrendered the title twice; in the inaugural year Japan won and in 1996 when the Korea Republic succeeded.

Ever since 1996, now 11 in a row, China has always won.

Individual events

Meanwhile, happening alongside the men’s team event, the opening round of the women’s singles and men’s doubles competitions were staged, as well as the play advancing to the mixed doubles semi-finals.

Notably in the women’s singles it was not the best of days for Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and younger sister Jinnipa; Suthasini was beaten by Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu (11-8, 11-3, 11-6), Jinnipa experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Saki Shibata (11-3, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3).

Eye catching performances from Zhu Chengzhu and Saki Shibata; it was the same from DPR Korea’s Pyon Song Gyong, Singapore’s Yu Mengyu and Korea Republic’s Lee Eunhye. Pyon Song Gyong beat Hong Kong’s Chau Wing Sze (2-11, 11-9, 11-4, 11-7), Yu Mengyu overcame Chinese Taipei’s Su Pei-Ling (11-2, 11-7, 11-4); Lee Eunhye caused Thailand more problems, she ended the hopes of Nanthana Komwong (11-6, 11-7, 11-6).

Semi-finals

Efforts to raise the eyebrows, in the mixed doubles event it was the leading pairs who raised the eyebrows as play advanced to the semi-final stage; the top four seeds all progressed. In the penultimate round Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen meet Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee, Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Kem oppose Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha.

The matches will be played on Thursday 19th September.

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Day 8 - 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships