31 Jan 2020

One week ago she celebrated her 20th birthday, one week later she celebrated again; on Thursday 30th January, in the opening round of the women’s singles event at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open, required to qualify, China’s Qian Tianyi beat Japan’s Miu Hirano, the no.11 seed.

Significantly, Miu Hirano is a young lady destined for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as an integral member of the Japanese team, an outfit with high medal hopes.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Most impressively Qian Tianyi won in four straight games, responding on the most decisive occasions (11-2, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9); a most impressive result.

Is she the next in line?

Started at Seoul Olympic Games

The dynasty started in 1988 when Chen Jing won the women’s singles title at the Seoul Olympic Games; later in 2000 Wang Nan, who was also crowned World champion on three consecutive occasions commencing in 1999 in Eindhoven, struck gold in Sydney.

More recently, Ding Ning followed the example of Wang Nan; beginning in 2011 in Rotterdam she won the women’s singles title at the World Championships three times, securing the Olympic Games title in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. Also you can add to the list the name of Guo Yue, gold in the women’s team event in 2008 in Beijing and in 2012 in London, as well as being crowned world champion in 2007 in Zagreb.

Four Olympic Games gold medallists, one common factor, all are left handed; just as is Qian Tianyi.

Doubles format

Throughout modern history, China has always had a rich array of talent from which to choose; also time and again in doubles they have selected left hand and right hand combinations.

One suspects, just as Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu enjoyed women’s doubles success last year at Liebherr 2019 World Championships, they would be pretty good if the played with two right handers. However, consider the ten World Championships held this century, always won by China, on eight of those occasions it has been a left and right handed combination. The only other exception is Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling in 2015 in Suzhou.

World order

Now consider the current situation; of the Chinese players in the top 300 of the women’s world rankings, there are just four left handers, in the top 30 just two. Ding Ning is clear of the field at no.7, Qian Tianyi is at no.30, Gu Yuting at no.37 and Kuai Man at no.274.

Gu Yuting, winner at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and World Junior champion in 2013 in Rabat has not really made the progress anticipated; Kuai Man is only 15 years old.

Progress at crucial age

Moreover, Qian Tianyi is progressing in the vital years immediately following the end of junior days.

In 2018 she won the junior girls’ singles title at both the Asian and World Junior Championships; last year in November she progressed to the women’s singles semi-final round on the ITTF World Tour in Austria. Thus she booked a place in the Grand Finals.

Furthermore, note the world ranking, last July he was listed at no.291; in seven months she climbed just over 160 places!

Next in line of the golden left handers; destined for gold in the biggest theatres of all? The dynasty is set to continue.

World Tour 2020 German Open Qian Tianyi

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Day 4 - 2020 ITTF World Tour German Open

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