12 Dec 2019

Who will stake a claim at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals? Welcome to Day One, as play commences in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Thursday 12th December, at 13:00 local time.

Back from the brink, Xu Xin recovers

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Down by two games but Xu Xin refuses to give up the fight, winning the next four games on the bounce to beat Zhao Zihao 4-2 (5-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4).

Xu Xin wins six-game epic to bring day’s action to a close (Photo: Rémy Gros)

And with that day one draws to a close. Be sure to join us from 10.00am local time on Friday 13th December for day two of the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

Crushing display sees Liang Jingkun progress

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Liang Jingkun was obviously eager to get on and off the table as quickly as possible as the Chinese no.7 seed blew away Hong Kong China’s Wong Chun Ting in under 20 minutes (11-4, 11-6, 11-8, 11-1)!

The other match going currently in progress sees Zhao Zihao leading World no.1 Xu Xin 2-0 (11-5, 11-8) – could another upset be on the horizon?

Hitomi Sato stuns Ding Ning!!!

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

WOW! Who saw this one coming?! Japanese no.15 seed Hitomi Sato has eliminated the ‘Queen of Hearts’ Ding Ning to the dismay of the home fans in Zhengzhou.

Sato’s defensive arsenal proves too steady for the three-time World champion in what is surely the upset of the tournament so far (4-11, 11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-4).

Shock defeat for home favourite Ding Ning (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Ishikawa heading to Tokyo 2020

Emotional scenes here in Zhengzhou as Kasumi Ishikawa learns that she has qualified for Tokyo 2020:

‘Hurricane’ Hirano is out!!!

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

It’s Kasumi Ishikawa who will be joining Mima Ito in representing Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after Miu Hirano failed in her comeback attempt against Wang Yidi (11-6, 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5). Hirano needed victory over Wang in order to qualify for her home Games, but defeat means the wait goes on for the teenager.

Sato levels scores up again

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Ding Ning and Hitomi Sato still can’t be separated in their Round of 16 battle as the no.7 and no.15 seeds pick up games three and four respectively (11-7, 8-11) to keep the tie level at 2-2.

Elsewhere, Wang Yidi looks very impressive – coming back from a five point deficit to steal game two (11-7) the eighth seeded Chinese player is just as convincing in game three (11-6) and is closing in on a huge opening round scalp here in Zhengzhou.

Hirano off to slow start

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

With Kasumi Ishikawa falling at the first hurdle, Miu Hirano knows a win in her meeting with Wang Yidi will seal her spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But, she’s off to a slow start in Zhengzhou with her Chinese opponent moving a game in front (11-6).

Opening plaudits go to Wang Yidi (Photo: Rémy Gros)

There’a another Japan v China encounter on table 2 with Ding Ning and Hitomi Sato sitting level at one a game apiece (11-4, 4-11).

World champion shows no mercy and Zhu Yuling departs!

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Another solid outing in game three (11-7) sees Liu move to within a game from the quarter-finals and she grasped her opportunity with both hands, fighting back from a 3-7 deficit to win game four (11-9) and complete the straight games win over Ishikawa (11-7, 14-12, 11-7, 11-9).

As for the action over on table 2, Wang continued her fine display and didn’t take long to see off Zhu as she stormed to a dominant 4-0 victory over the 2016 World Tour Grand Finals champion (11-8, 11-6, 11-6, 11-6).

Kasumi Ishikawa misses chance to level playing field

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Speaking of Kasumi Ishikawa, she’s currently involved in that all-important clash with World champion Liu Shiwen and she’s just missed out on an inviting chance to bring the scores level. Beaten by a four point margin in the opening game (11-7) but Ishikawa held two game points in game two, failing to take either one of them (14-12) as Liu moves two games to the good.

The other match running simultaneously to Ishikawa v Liu is also surrounded by dramatic scenes as Wang Manyu holds a commanding 2-0 advantage over Zhu Yuling (11-8, 11-6) in a thrilling all-China affair.

Wang Manyu (pictured) outclasses 2016 champion Zhu Yuling (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Little room for error with Olympic qualification on the line

We have an intriguing situation regarding the race for Tokyo 2020 on Team Japan’s end: if Miu Hirano falls in her opening round encounter against Wang Yidi then Kasumi Ishikawa’s place at the Olympic Games is secured. However, if Ishikawa tastes defeat to Liu Shiwen and Hirano wins then it’s the teenager who qualifies instead!

Fan and Boll react

Here’s what Fan Zhendong and Timo Boll had to say following their head-to-head contest:

“We have played against each other several times recently, so we are very familiar with each other. We both made some changes this time. The second and third games were very crucial: I was down in both games, but I kept finding solutions on the court.” Fan Zhendong

“Slow start again. It is tough against him if you always follow him. He played quite well. In the second game, I had the feeling that I was close at his level somehow. But I lost a close game. I need to win the close game to have some chance against him. He is just a better player. He is young. He is fresh. He is motivated for big titles now. I am at the end of my career, but it is still fun to play with him. I still had the feeling I could compete with him somehow. To lose to him all the time is somehow tough, but still it is normal.” Timo Boll

Fan and Lin through

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Fan Zhendong and Lin Yun-Ju have booked their spots in the quarter-finals after successfully completing straight-game victories in their respective fixtures against Timo Boll (11-5, 18-16, 12-10, 11-7) and Mattias Falck (11-7, 11-9, 13-11, 11-9).

Lin Yun-Ju makes quarter-finals on World Tour Grand Finals debut (Photo: Rémy Gros)

However, the 4-0 score-lines don’t tell the full story. Boll and Falck had chances to ramp up the pressure on their Asian opponents but couldn’t convert and as a result it’s a round one exit for the European competitors.

Falck and Boll in trouble

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

It’s not looking great for Mattias Falck, who now finds himself 0-3 down on the scoreboard. Missing out in game two by the narrowest of margins (11-9) and game three was even more painful for the Swede as he failed to convert a game point opportunity as Lin Yun-Yu added another game to his collection (13-11).

Over in the other match it’s not good news for the other European in action as Timo Boll also finds himself three games down. A crazy second game saw Fan save a total of three game point opportunities to edge past his German rival in a tight battle (18-16). The following game was just as close although this time Fan only needed two game points to get over the line (12-10)

Asian players establish early lead over European counterparts

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Meeting on Chinese soil just a couple of weeks on from their Men’s World Cup encounter, China’s Fan Zhendong has taken the early lead against German legend Timo Boll in their opening round contest (11-5).

Strong start for Fan Zhendong (Photo: Rémy Gros)

It’s more good news for Asia on table 2 with Lin Yun-Ju leading Sweden’s Mattias Falck following a positive opening game display from the Chinese Taipei teenager (11-7).

Jeon/Yang claim semi-final spot!

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Jeon Jihee with Yang Haeun have just secured their semi-final spot at the World Tour Grand Finals, seeing off Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching (11-9, 11-9, 5-11, 11-4).

Seeded second, Jeon and Yang were confident in their play against Doo and Lee, which meant they were not affected by the loss of the third game. Sealing the win in four games, the Korea Republic pair now face Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu tomorrow!

Kihara/Nagasaki turn it around, Jeon/Yang take lead

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

There was a proper class in session today at the Zhengzhou Olympic Sports Center as Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki showed their mettle as top seeds for the tournament, winning against Hana Matelova and Barbora Balazova 3-2 (11-9, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4). Having been down by 1-2, it looked ominous for the Japanese pair, who turned the gears up and found themselves a place in the semi-finals.

On the other table, Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun have taken a solid 2-0 (11-9, 11-9) lead against Hong Kong China’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching. Is there any way back for them?

Hugely impressive, Jeon Jihee with Yang Haeun (Photo by Remy Gros)
Top seeds in trouble

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

It seems like a day for the top seeds to be in trouble, as Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki are up against it facing the mixed pairing of Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova and Slovakian Barbora Balazova.

With the score reading 2-1 (9-11, 11-6, 11-9) to the mixed duo, the match is hardly facing the favorites right now. Will we see another upset so soon?

Liao/Lin take the lead, and then the match

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

In what might be the biggest upset of the day, the top seeds Jeoung Youngsik with Lee Sangsu have just been eliminated by Liao Cheng-Ting with Lin Yun-Ju, who won 3-1 (11-8, 7-11, 11-7, 11-1).

The Chinese Taipei pairing were exuberant in class as they waltzed across the table in tandem, beating back the oppression from the Korea Republic duo. The calm shown by teenager Lin and his partner Liao was scintillating and gives hope that we will see these two going for the podium later tomorrow!

Korea Republic and Chinese Taipei lock horns

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Jeoung Youngsik with Lee Sangsu are engaged in a proper battle against Liao Cheng-Ting with Lin Yun-Ju, as they are locked at one game each here in Zhengzhou.

Taking the first game with control (11-8), Liao with Lin showed immense aptitude versus the top seeds, who then responded swiftly themselves (11-7).

How will Jeoung Youngsik with Lee Sangsu perform? (Photo by Remy Gros)
Xu/Fan blitz to a win

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

In less than 16 minutes, China’s Xu Xin and Fan Zhendong already secured a 3-0 (11-7, 11-5, 11-3) win over Hong Kong China’s Ho Kwan Kit and Wong Chun Ting!

The speed of play from penholder Xu and movement across the table from Fan seriously took their game to another level – one with which Ho and Wong simply could not deal with!

Boll/Franziska win epic!

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Lasting over 42 minutes, the Germans had the friendly feelings out for that time period as they contested a fiery battle for a semi-final spot at the World Tour Grand Finals.

“We made jokes about each other when we saw the draw. In Austria we also played in the first round. We are good friends with each other. Very far away from home, then you play against each other, it is not the easiest game. But we are professional players. We should give it our best. We have to play with good details with good quality. We cannot give them many easy balls. We have to keep our balls of high quality and move well. This is the key to win today.” Patrick Franziska

Eventually, it was Timo Boll with Patrick Franziska who sneaked the win 3-2 (9-11, 12-10, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9), defeating a valiant effort from Qiu Dang with Benedikt Duda.

“We had a tough start in the first set. They played very solid on the high level. But we started better in the second then we were in the game. I am happy that we could turn it around at the end.” Timo Boll

Liang/Lin clinch the win, German decider in play

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Liang Jingkun with Lin Gaoyuan have reached the semi-finals of the World Tour Grand Finals, as they secured a 3-1 (11-9, 5-11, 13-11, 11-7) win over Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An with Chuang Chih-Yuan – despite their best efforts to turn the tie around.

At table 2, a German decider is in play as Qiu Dang with Benedikt Duda have brought the score back to 2-2 after having lost an early lead to Timo Boll with Patrick Franziska. Who will take home the last 4 spot??

The first ever use of TTR!

As the third game of the match between Liang Jingkun with Lin Gaoyuan and Chen Chien-An with Chuang Chih-Yuan went down, history was made as Lin Gaoyuan called for the first-ever review in table tennis!

The Table Tennis Review system has been put into place for the World Tour Grand Finals, helping give the athletes some measure of control over the decisive plays during the match. Watch below for how it happened on the field of play:

Chen/Chuang hit back, so do Boll/Franziska

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan have rallied back against Liang and Lin, taking the second game 11-5 with utmost vigor. Unfortunately for them, Liang and Lin took the third game right back – winning 13-11. Will the Chinese Taipei pair balance the scales again?

Timo Boll and Patrick Franziksa have also channeled their strength to lead the tie from behind by winning the second and third games (12-10, 11-5) meaning this German battle has life in it yet.

Liang/Lin lead, Duda/Qiu begin German domestic

Men’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

China’s Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan have taken the lead (11-9) against Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan at the Zhengzhou Olympic Sports Center.

For the German battle happening in Zhengzhou, Qiu Dang and Benedikt Duda have started the better than their compatriots, Timo Boll and Franziska, leading 1-0 (11-9).

Can Chen Chien-An and Chuang Chih-Yuan hit back? (Photo by Remy Gros)
Chen/Cheng reach the final four

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu have successfully eliminated the Japanese duo of Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata in a powerful display of intent (11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9).

“Today we did really well in receiving, which gave us more chances to attack. After the draw was out, we felt that we had our chances to win.” Chen Szu-Yu

In the first match of day lasting over half an hour, Hirano with Shibata were unable to breakthrough the strong defense of Chen with Cheng – leading to their early elimination from the competition.

Sun/Wang coast as Chen/Cheng take control

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu reached the semi-finals as they won 3-0 (11-7, 13-11, 11-7) having been 8-10 down to Ng Wing Kam and Soo Wai Yam Minnie in the second game at one stage.

Meanwhile, Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu are now leading Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata by 2-1 (11-9, 7-11, 11-6) – can they eliminate the Japanese duo?

Proving the critics wrong, Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu.
Sun/Wang start well, Chen/Cheng surprise Hirano/Shibata

Women’s Doubles: Quarter-finals

It’s time to move to the women’s doubles – and do we have a couple of games for you! China’s Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu have started with an 11-7 win over Hong Kong China’s Ng Wing Kam and Soo Wai Yam Minnie.

But for Japan’s Miu Hirano and Saki Shibata, things could have gone better. Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu have taken an unexpected lead (11-9) after some impressive net shots at the table!

Cheng/Lin join Ito/Mizutani in Tokyo!

Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals

Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching have just booked their tickets to Tokyo 2020, as they wrapped up an impressive 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-4) win over Hungarians Adam Szudi Szandra Pergel.

“Now I can feel the Olympics. We have better mindset today. We just try our best to pose our opponents under pressure. I am a bit older than my partner, so I try to lead him on the court. We have very good communication. We encourage each other to relieve our pressure.” Cheng I-Ching

Japan’s Mima Ito with Jun Mizutani also clinched a swift 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-6) victory in 20 minutes, sending them to the semi-finals of the World Tour Grand Finals, after they beat France’s Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier.

Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching are going to Tokyo! (Photo by Remy Gros)
Ito/Mizutani lead, so do Cheng/Lin

Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals

The second set of quarter-finals is underway here in Zhengzhou, with Japan’s Mima Ito with Jun Mizutani taking an early lead (11-7, 11-6) against France’s Tristan Flore and Laura Gasnier.

Similarly for the Chinese Taipei pair, Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching won their first two games (11-7, 11-3) against Hungarians Adam Szudi with Szandra Pergel. Who will take the last tickets to Tokyo?

Wong/Doo and Xu/Liu qualify for Tokyo!

Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals

Playing the Grand Finals has a perk – things get interesting very soon! This year, the final four of the mixed doubles get direct entry to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 – and the first two pairs have already been decided!

“I feel so happy and excited to get qualified for Tokyo 2020. I am experiencing a difficult time recently as my leg was injured. I could not do much training. But I am still here to fight for Olympic spot. I am very happy now.” Wong Chun Ting

Xu Xin with Liu Shiwen coasted to a 3-0 (11-3, 11-5, 13-11) win over Cho Daeseong with Shin Yubin, needing all but 25 minutes. Joining the Chinese pair are the Hong Kong China duo, Wong Chun Ting with Doo Hoi Kem who beat Lubomir Pistej with Barbora Balazova in straight games (12-10, 11-9, 11-7).

Xu/Liu start strong, Wong/Doo recover

Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals

It’s a fine day for top seeds in the Mixed Doubles to start their campaigns, as China’s Xu Xin with Liu Shiwen just won their first two games (11-3, 11-5) against Korea Republic’s Cho Daeseong with Shin Yubin.

Over at Table 2, Hong Kong China’s Wong Chun Ting with Doo Hoi Kem came back to win 12-10 after being 0-6 down to Slovakian’s Lubomir Pistej with Barbora Balazova.

Let the Grand Finals begin!
2019 Grand Finals Zhengzhou

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Day 4 - Agricultural Bank of China 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals