13 Dec 2019

Who will reach the podium at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals? Welcome to Day Two, as play commences in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Friday 13th December, at 10:00 local time.

Xu Xin sheds light on wrist problems

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

“My wrist was already uncomfortable before the match started but the match was already fixed and I couldn’t change it. There were a lot of fans waiting to watch me play against Harimoto today. Initially I told my coach that I wanted to change the match to Saturday to rest my wrist. If I only had two doubles and won both 3-0 I would have time to rest it. But everyone was looking forward to this match, including everyone who came down to watch today. I didn’t think the whole stadium would be filled. Winning the match today at the end definitely was not easy.” Xu Xin

Xu-perman does it again!!!

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Xu Xin has done! Down 1-5 and then 8-10 in the decider Xu saves two match points to stay in the match. Then at the second match point attempt of his own the World no.1 converts to send the crowd wild (11-6, 13-15, 11-5, 3-11, 9-11, 13-11, 13-11). Harimoto falls to the floor in dismay but both players exchange handshakes as a sign of respect.

With the outcome confirmed, Xu extends his undefeated run over Harimoto to seven and remains in the hunt for a third men’s singles title on the World Tour Grand Finals stage.

Medical attention for Xu

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Xu Xin is receiving medical attention from his camp with his left wrist being taped up. We’re still going ahead with game seven – here we go!

Xu Xin required medial attention (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Decider required

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Following another close battle in game five (11-9), Harimoto holds a match point opportunity at 10-9 in game six. However, Xu keeps the tie alive with a 11-13 win in his favour, forcing a deciding seventh game.

Harimoto continues to trouble World no.1

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Shortly after Xu sends a statement with a top outing in game three (11-5), Harimoto betters it with an immediate response (11-3). Four games down and we’re all square here at 2-2. Both players are going for this and there’s plenty of drama still to be uncovered – Don’t go anywhere!

Xu Xin and Tomokazu Harimoto are locked in an intense battle (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Nothing between them

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Xu Xin and Tomokazu Harimoto are involved in an eye-catching affair with a place in the men’s singles last four up for grabs.

Undefeated in all previous head-to-head meetings with the Japanese teenager, Xu produces a commanding showing to take the opening game (11-6). Spectators were then treated to a breathtaking second game: trailing 10-8 Xu managed to save two game points against him but then failed to capitalise on three of his own as Harimoto edged the game 15-13 to level the match at 1-1.

Wang Manyu marches on

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Fourth seed Wang Manyu completes the women’s singles semi-final line-up after coming out on top against Chen Xingtong 4-1 (11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4) and will face Wang Yidi for a spot in the final.

Wang Manyu (pictured) proves too strong for Chen Xingtong in Zhengzhou (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Xu Xin v Tomokazu Harimoto

China’s Xu Xin faces Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto in what’s anticipated to be another epic encounter between the two – who are you backing for the win?

End-to-end action

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

In the closing session of the day we have another China v China line-up in the women’s singles event as fourth seed Wang Manyu meets fifth seed Chen Xingtong. Three games into the tie and the two players have been picking up alternating game wins to this point in the match with Wang leading 2-1 (11-6, 7-11, 11-7) – will the trend continue?

Decisive win sends Lin Gaoyuan through

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

A strong start and Lin Gaoyuan didn’t slow down as his match with Lin Yun-Ju progressed, needing just four games in total to bring the Chinese Taipei no.6 seed’s journey to a halt in 35 minutes (13-11, 11-4, 11-5, 11-7).

Lin Gaoyuan powers to victory (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Quick start from ‘Dark Knight’

Men’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

There’s an air of excitement for the home fans in Zhengzhou as the ‘Dark Knight’ Lin Gaoyuan leads the ‘Silent Assassin’ Lin Yun-Ju in the first men’s singles quarter-final contest (13-11, 11-4). In their last head-to-head it was the latter player who held the upper hand – can the Chinese Taipei teenager turn this match around?

Top seed Sun Yingsha is out!!!

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

One of the sport’s finest young player and winner of three women’s singles gold medals on the 2019 ITTF World Tour, but Sun Yingsha has been eliminated from the World Tour Grand Finals women’s singles race at the quarter-final hurdle.

The 19-year-old lost out to another Chinese competitor in the form of Wang Yidi (13-11, 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8), who is enjoying an incredible campaign in Zhengzhou on what is her World Tour Grand Finals debut.

Wang Yidi stuns top seed Sun Yingsha (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Reaction from table 1

“Fantastic match. We both played quite well. But still I made some mistakes on the court. When leading 8-5 in the third game, I became a bit anxious and lost the next few points very quickly. When she managed to come back to 3-2, I just told myself to concentrate on matches and not think about the score.” Chen Meng

“She performed really well today especially in the seventh game. I did not have any chance. I led 6-2 in the first game then Chen played out some very good points. I think I did not do well in the first three stokes. The match entered into her rhythm when we played more rallies.” Liu Shiwen

Chen Meng wins seven-game thriller

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

With momentum shifting in her opponent’s favour Chen Meng takes her performance up another level and shows why she is the two-time defending champion at this very event. Relatively untroubled in game six and in the decider the World no.1 blew World champion Liu Shiwen away with an emphatic display to seal the victory (11-7, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-1).

The result means Chen avenges the defeat she suffered to Liu at the 2019 World Championships and now moves to within two victories from making it three World Tour Grand Finals titles in a row!

Chen Meng knows how to perform on World Tour Grand Finals stage (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Match turns on its head

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Down 0-2 on the scoreboard, now it’s Liu who is in front 3-2 after successfully winning three consecutive games. As reported earlier Liu halved the deficit with her game three win and the World champion levelled the playing field with an even stronger display in game four (11-6). Game five was much tighter with both players sitting level at 9-9, but a fine finish to the game sees Liu move ahead for the first time in the match.

We can also report that we have action on table 2 with Sun Yingsha taking on Wang Yidi and so far we have a very interesting story developing from that fixture as holds a two games lead (13-11, 11-5)!

Wang Yidi is lining up big shock in Zhengzhou (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Ito reaches new heights

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

A convincing performance in game four sees Mima Ito emerge victorious over Hitomi Sato (11-7, 11-7, 13-11, 11-5) to seal her place in the World Tour Grand Finals women’s singles last four for the first time in her career and extends her head-to-head lead over her Japanese colleague to 7:1.

One-way traffic

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Ito is looking well placed in her encounter with Sato after extending her lead to three games! Game two featured the same points outcome as the opening game (11-7) but it was game three that really caught the eye: down 7-10 Sato managed to save three game point opportunities before holding a game point of her own. However, Ito recovered, eventually getting over the line by the narrowest of margins (13-11).

It may be one-way traffic on table 2 but on table 1 Liu has managed to get herself back into the contest. Falling two games behind (11-7, 11-7), Liu then held game point at 10-9 up in game three and she capitalised with a fortunate back edge of the table hit to reduce the games deficit to one.

Teammates become rivals

Women’s Singles: Quarter-Finals

Action has resumes in Zhengzhou and we have two exciting fixtures on the cards in the race for the women’s singles semi-finals.

On table 1 we have an all-China affair which currently sees third seed Chen Meng leading World champion Liu Shiwen 1-0 (11-7) while over on table 2 Japan’s Mima Ito and Hitomi Sato face one another with the former of the two holding the early advantage (11-7).

Chinese Taipei pair battles to victory

Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

The first time Liao and Lin hold a games lead in the match happens to bring proceedings to a halt as the Chinese Taipei combination secure an impressive win against Boll and Franziska, fighting back from behind twice in the contest. In the decider, Liao and Lin recovered from match point down at 9-10, winning three points in a row to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat (2-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 12-10).

Down to the wire

Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

Very tight margins in the other men’s doubles semi-final as the two pairs can’t be separated after four games. Responding off the back of a slow start, Liao and Lin level the scores at 1-1 with a solid outing in game two (11-8) only for Boll and Franziska to regain the lead straight away (7-11). With pressure mounting, the Chinese Taipei duo enjoy their best game yet (11-5) to force the match into a decider.

Chinese Taipei stars holding on (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Final awaits following crushing display

Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin will represent China in the men’s doubles final after successfully completing a 3-0 victory over fellow compatriots Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (11-9, 11-9, 11-9) – who will they meet in the title showdown?

Former World champions closing in

Men’s Doubles: Semi-Finals

Seeded second for the men’s doubles event in Zhengzhou, 2017 World champions Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin are just a game away from a place in the 2019 World Tour Grand Finals final, claiming the opening two games in their all-China encounter with Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (11-9, 11-9).

2017 World champions on track (Photo: Rémy Gros)

As for the other semi-final it’s Germany’s Timo Boll and Patrick Franziska who hold an early lead, beating Chinese Taipei’s Liao Cheng-Ting and Lin Yun-Ju by a whopping nine point margin in game one (11-2).

Reaction from table 1

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Following an incredible women’s doubles semi-final let’s find out what the successful and unsuccessful competitors had to say:

“I just want to focus on my own matches. To me they are just any other opponents, not World champions. We played out our level today. We are happy to beat the World champions.” Miyu Nagasaki

“The key to the win is we played at our level. We had very good communication on the court. We gave each other support.” Miyuu Kihara

“It is a pity to lose this match. We performed well in the first two games, but we did not do well in some crucial points especially in game five. We had two match points, but we did not manage to take the match. Our opponents are very young and challenging. They won a World Tour title. They are strong. So it is also normal that they won against us.” Sun Yingsha

World Junior Champions defeat World Champions !

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Japan’s Miyu Kihara and Miyuu Nagasaki have successfully completed a stunning comeback to defeat Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu – having been two games down to the Chinese pair (3-11, 4-11, 11-3, 14-12, 14-12)!

Winning three games on the bounce, Kihara and Nagasaki proved their top seeding’s worth and will now face Yang Haeun with Jeon Jihee in the final tomorrow!

Yang/Jeon rally back to win!

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Yang Haeun with Jeon Jihee have rallied to make a marvelous comeback here in Zhengzhou, as they beat Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu by 3-1 (8-11, 11-3, 11-6, 11-8). Having been down by the first game, this was a powerful effort by the Korea Republicans which now has sent them to the final!

Korean pair fights back to reach final (Photo: Rémy Gros)

Facing them there will be the winner of the decider between China’s Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, and top seeds from Japan Miyu Kihara and Miyuu Nagasaki – who are locked in at two games each!

Chen/Cheng lead, Sun/Wang double theirs

Women’s Doubles: Semi-finals

Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and Cheng Hsien-Tzu have taken the lead against Korea Republic’s Yang Haeun and Jeon Jihee (11-8).

For the Chinese Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu, the lead is two fold as the won both their opening games versus top seeds Miyu Kihara and Miyuu Nagasaki from Japan (11-3, 11-4). Can they make a comeback?

…and they’re in!

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

It will be China versus Japan in the mixed doubles final of the World Tour Grand Finals here in Zhengzhou – as Xu Xin with Liu Shiwen cruised against Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju with Cheng I-Ching (11-3, 131-11, 11-1).

Winning in the match in straight games, they needed less than half an hour to secure the spot in the final. Xu’s penhold grip balanced well with Liu’s shakehand attack, meaning there was not much Lin and Cheng could do when the second seeds got going.

Xu/Liu not so far behind

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

China’s Xu Xin with Liu Shiwen look set to reach the final after having secured a 2-0 (11-3, 13-11) lead over Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju with Cheng I-Ching.

Playing majorly to win on their serve, Xu and Liu are simply keeping their focus against their youthful opponents – who certainly need to step it up if they are to make the final from hereon.

Celebrating a hard won game, Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin. (Photo by Remy Gros)


Ito/Mizutani make the final!

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

That went by quickly! Needing just under 22 minutes, the Japanese duo have eliminated the top seeds in straight games to make the mixed doubles final (11-9, 11-2, 15-13)!

Penholder Wong Chun Ting and partner Doo Hoi Kem just could not handle the speed of the overall balance of play by Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani – who simply blitzed past them at every point and kept the intensity of their shots at a consistently high rate. Will they be able to win gold tomorrow?

All speed for Ito/Mizutani

Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals

The Japanese duo are in a rush it seems, winning two games on the bounce against top seeds from Hong Kong China, Wong Chun Ting with Doo Hoi Kem (11-9, 11-2).

Mima Ito with Jun Mizutani have recorded 26 to 19 point victories in 12 minutes over the two games, leaving Wong and Doo unable to respond.

Dodging the bronze? (Photo by Remy Gros)
Stunning comeback win for Ma Long

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

And he’s roaring again! Ma ‘The Dragon’ Long has just overturned the deficit he had against Jeoung Youngsik in style, winning the match 4-2 (8-11, 11-6, 10-12, 11-2, 11-7, 11-3) in an hour and four minutes.

“Every encounter against him is not easy. He challenged me a lot. This is my first match here. This tough match will help me better enter into competition shape.” Ma Long

Showing his immense class and variant abilities at the table, the three-time World Tour Grand Finals winner completely changed the pace of the game after the third game and won the next three – leaving Youngsik no chance to contest thereon.

TTR Check: Another good call?

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Well the morning has not been exactly easy for ‘The Dragon’ as he contested a service call made by the umpire using the revolutionary Table Tennis Review system. Check out what happened:

Harimoto breezes through, Ma levels up

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Well that did not take long! Japan’s teenage senation Tomokazu Harimoto has just defeated Patrick Franziska with a straight games victory – in under 31 minutes (14-12, 11-4, 11-6, 11-4)! This means all of the German trio have now been eliminated from the singles event, as the defending champion Harimoto marches on.

The Dragon has hit back against Jeoung Youngsik, winning the second and fourth games (11-6, 11-2), levelling the match up to 2-2. Can he push on from here?

Ma Long is watching Jeoung Youngsik’s every move! (Photo by Remy Gros)
Tough start for Franziska, Jeoung leads Ma

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

It’s not turning out to be a good day for the Germans – as Patrick Franziska has found himself two games down against defending champion from Japan Tomokazu Harimoto (14-12, 11-4).

China’s Ma Long meanwhile has lost the opening game to Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik – meaning the fans now will expect a stunning comeback from the Dragon – or not?

Hugo wins, Dima unable to stop Lin

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Hugo Calderano secured his quarter-final spot with aplomb, winning 4-1 (11-6, 11-9, 12-14, 11-4, 11-6) against Japan’s Jun Mizutani in a match where the eighth seed showcased some impressive backhand shots and dealt with everything Mizutani threw at him.

“Actually I led for all of the first three sets. I had a very good chance, but did not manage to take them. I came back to 2-3 but it was too much for 0-3 down. Definitely unfortunately for me. I could do better in first three sets. After my injury in 2018, I came back with really good condition this year. I had some really great moments. This will give me more confidence for 2020.” Dimitrij Ovtcharov

China’s Lin Gaoyuan joined him shortly afterwards, with Dimitrij Ovtcharov pushing the third seed to a 4-2 (13-11, 11-9, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11, 11-4) win and making the Chinese work for his win.

Lin nearing win, Hugo as well

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Despite the best efforts of Dimitrij Ovtcharov, it seems like China’s Lin Gaoyuan is about to claim a place in the quarter-finals. The third seed has a 3-1 lead over the German and it will need something special from Ovtcharov to spin the match around.

For Hugo Calderano, the scoreline reads the same – leading Jun Mizutani at 3-1 all the Brazilian needs is to secure one more game to eliminate the Japanese. Will the veteran have a say in that?

Hugo Calderano hunting for the win (Photo by Remy Gros)
Lin and Hugo build leads

Men’s Singles: Round of 16

Lin Gaoyuan has started with a strong 2-0 (13-11, 11-9) lead over Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, taking all but 21 minutes to do so.

Over at table 2, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano has mirrored that, winning his first two games against Japanese veteran Jun Mizutani (11-6, 11-9).

…and secure comeback wins!

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Well the top seeds have done it – both Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha completed comeback wins against their Chinese teammates in Qian Tianyi and He Zhuojia respectively.

“I did not play at my level. When I was 1-3 down, I changed my mindset. I just told myself not to give up and come back point by point.” Chen Meng

For world no.1 Chen it was the lengthier 4-3 (11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 12-14, 13-11, 11-8, 11-6) win, lasting well over an hour and fourteen minutes – a match that surely had her resolve tested as Qian gave everything she had. For Sun, it was a matter of reestablishing control over a match she led, then fell back in – with He unable to cope with the top seed’s sudden change of pace (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8, 11-4).

Chen and Sun reestablish themselves

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Chen Meng has turned the match on its head, winning two games back-to-back bringing the score to 3-3 overall. Can Qian Tianyi hold on for the win?

Meanwhile, Sun Yingsha has taken the lead against He Zhuojia at 3-2 (11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8), and with any evidence of how the day has gone, this one is surely headed to a decider. Right?

Regaining control, Sun Yingsha (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Top seeds in trouble!

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Well who saw this coming? Chen Meng is down 1-3 to Qian Tianyi and the 16th seed is the one looking like sealing the deal here! Her off the net shots have dominated the world no.1, who really needs to pull herself together to have any chance of progressing!

For the top seed it is a similar situation – Sun Yingsha is now 1-2 (11-7, 9-11, 9-11) down versus 13th seed He Zhuojia. Are we about to see a double upset in the Chinese domestic?

Tianyi hits back, Sun starts well

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Its a double domestic for the Chinese, as Qian Tianyi hit back against Chen Meng and has now a 2-1 (7-11, 11-8, 12-10) lead over the world no.1 athlete.

Over at the table, Sun Yingsha has just won her first game against compatriot He Zhuojia (11-7) and will look to push on from this to complete a swift win.

Ito claims epic win, Chen in control

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

In an epic conclusion, Mima Ito secured a momentous win over Cheng I-Ching (10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-3, 12-10), with the contest lasting over 56 minutes. Both athletes were in complete tandem against each other, winning a game each but the momentum of the sixth game for Ito secured the seventh and the match.

“I lost to her at Austria Open so I really wanted to win this time. Actually I performed normally. I had my chances today. It was really tough to lose. Mima Ito is very strong. I can feel she makes changes every time I play against her.” Cheng I-Ching

The world no. 1 Chen Meng is in fine form over at table 2, winning the first game 11-5 against Chinese compatriot Qian Tianyi.

The calm before the storm – Mima Ito vs Cheng I-Ching (Photo by Remy Gros)
Decider begins for Cheng and Ito

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Japan’s Mima Ito has swung this match back and forth between her and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching enough times to call it a pendulum – with a 3-3 score, the decider has begun.

Ito has looked the stronger of the two athletes on the counter attack, but Cheng is picking her moments to strike back at will. Who goes through to the quarter-finals?

Feng exits, Ito and Cheng battle

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Chen Xingtong has completed a comprehensive 4-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5) win over Feng Tianwei which means after Ding Ning’s exit yesterday, another major veteran has just been eliminated from the Grand Tour Finals.

“Feng has been making progress in recent times. She played really well in the previous encounters with my teammates Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng. I did not expect that I could take the match 4-0. I was prepared that today’s match could go into the deciding games.” Chen Xingtong

Meanwhile, Mima Ito and Cheng I-Ching are now locked at 2-2, with neither athlete in the mood to give up or back off – are we headed to a decider?

Looking sharp, Cheng I-Ching (Photo by Remy Gros)
Favorites make stumbling start

Women’s Singles: Round of 16

Singapore’s Feng Tianwei will need to pull her socks up going forward today, as she lost the first two games to China’s Chen Xingtong (11-3, 11-7).

Over at table 2, Japan’s Mima Ito also lost the early lead against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, who surprised her by winning the game 12-10, having been 9-10 down. Having the levelled the scores since then (11-6), will Ito make a proper comeback?

Ready for the Grand Finals?
2019 Grand Finals

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