20 Sep 2019

The previous evening at the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships in Yogyakarta, Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, the reigning world champions, had survived a mixed doubles scare; they saved two match points in the third game against the Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu and Jeon Jihee before eventually emerging successful.

Following suit on the next morning, Friday 20th September, as the fourth round of the women’s singles event progressed, Chinese national team colleague, Ding Ning, the no.2 seed and reigning Olympic champion, also came perilously close to defeat.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Facing DPR Korea’s Cha Hyo Sim, the no.22 seed, likewise a left hander, Ding Ning trailed by two games to one, never comfortable, before in the fourth trailing 6-9; a major upset was on the cards. It was at that stage Ding Ning’s inner strength entered the equation, resolute, no hint of panic, the recovery began, nothing special just willpower.

She won the next four points before on her second game point gaining success; those vital points changed the complexion of the contest, Ding Ning secured the next game (7-11, 5-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-7) to complete the recovery.

“I have never played against her before. She seldom plays in international events. We both are left handers, so the match is more about the backhand strokes; her shots are of high quality. So, at the beginning, I could not catch her rhythm and lost the first two games very quickly. After 0-2 down, I did not give up and just wanted to come back point by point. I wanted to slow down the rhythm a little bit.” Ding Ning

An upset avoided but there were surprises as the third round of the women’s singles event progressed.

Shin Yubin and Lee Ho Ching

Most notably, Korea Republic’s 15 year old Shin Yubin, the no.26 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, the no.8 seed (11-2, 12-10, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8).

Similarly, Hong Kong’s Lee Ho Ching, the no.19 seed, who had not been in the best of form earlier in the women’s team event, accounted for Suh Hyowon, the no.11 seed and like Shin Yubin from Korea Republic (3-11, 12-10, 14-12, 11-8).

Unexpected defeats but not for the very elite names; alongside Ding Ning, colleague Chen Meng, the top seed, beat Hong Kong’s Zhu Chengzhu (11-6, 11-8, 11-7). Likewise, Wang Manyu, the no.3 seed, accounted for Singapore’s Yu Mengyu )9-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-6); Liu Shiwen, the no.4 seed, ended the hopes of Japan’s Saki Shibata (11-6, 8-11, 11-5, 12-10).

Similar scenario

Similarly, in the fourth round of the men’s singles event, the principal names progressed, the Chinese trio of Xu Xin, Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan setting the example.

Xu Xin, the top seed, beat Iran’s Amir Hossein Hodaei (11-5, 11-5, 11-3), Fan Zhendong, the no.2 seed, accounted for Malaysia’s Javen Choong (11-3, 11-4, 11-6); Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seed, overcame Japan’s Yukiya Uda (11-6, 11-4, 11-7). Not to be upstaged, Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed, was in the fast lane, he halted the adventures of Jean Mari Nayre from the Philippines (11-7, 11-1, 11-5).

Two further rounds follow later in the day in both the men’s singles and women’s singles events; when the lights go out the semi-finalists will be known.

2019 ITTF Asian Championships Ding Ning

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Day 8 - 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships