by Ian Marshall, Editor
Chen Meng is listed ahead of colleagues Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha, further down the order, Chen Xingtong is the no.10 seed; they are presented with the task of maintaining Chinese supremacy in women’s singles events on this year’s ITTF World Tour.
Commencing in January in Hungary; to date all 10 events completed have been won by Chinese players, in addition to Chen Meng the names in question being Chen Xingtong, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Wang Yidi. However, Chen Meng is the name in question.
Two players achieved the feat
She emerged successful in Hungary, the Korea Republic, China and now in Sweden.
Four ITTF World Tour women’s singles titles in a calendar year, only two players have achieved the feat in what is now 346 tournaments completed since the first was held in Kettering, England 1996.
A compatriot of Chen Meng, in 2007, Guo Yue won in China, Croatia, Kuwait and Slovenia; the other is Zhang Yining, she achieved the feat in 2004 and in 2008 but more significantly in 2003 she won five times. She stands alone, she emerged successful in China, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
Now that is the record in the sights of Chen Meng in Bremen; can she match the player who, in the eyes of many, is the greatest female player of all time?
Judging by her efforts in Stockholm, the target is within reach and not just because she won the won the women’s singles title, it was the manner in which she succeeded. She beat testing opposition on route; after accounting for Japan’s Sakura Mori (11-2, 11-8, 11-3, 11-4), she accounted for a series of colleagues to reach the final.
She beat Wang Yidi (11-7, 11-5, 13-15, 11-7, 12-10), the winner earlier this year in Hong Kong, before reversing the decision of earlier this year in April at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, she halted the progress of Liu Shiwen (11-7, 10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 18-16). Later she overcame the defensive skills of Liu Fei, a contest that was arguably harder than the straight games score line may suggest (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7).
A place in the final booked, it was there when she showed the character required to be the player listed at the top of the world, the character to equal the record of the legendary Zhang Yining. She recovered from a three games to one deficit to beat Japan’s Mima Ito (8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
It was the 13th time that Chen Meng had won an ITTF World Tour women’s singles title, the success stands alongside the very best but even if she wins in Bremen she will not be half way there to matching another record Zhang Yining holds.
Between 1998 and 2009, she won on no less than 29 occasions! Way ahead of the field, next in line is Wang Nan with 16 such successes, followed by Ding Ning with 14 wins.
Hard work ahead for Chen Meng.