27 Feb 2020

Quiet, a somewhat reserved character, not a player who displays a great deal of emotion; possibly a clenched fist when the match is concluded but from China’s Wang Manyu you are not going to witness excessive celebrations.

At the forthcoming 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open, which commences in Doha with two days of qualification on Tuesday 3rd March, the 21 year old defends her women’s singles title.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Now that fact alone should raise the eyebrows, her age but when you look at the success experienced by teenagers from China and Japan in recent years, it is not a startling fact.

The task for Wang Manyu and any other of her peers is to stand out from that group; last year at the end of March in Doha, that is exactly what she achieved. She stood out not just because she won the title but the manner in which she won.

Maintaining a high level from start to finish, she was never extended the full seven games distance; other than her impressive win in the six games success in the final against colleague Liu Shiwen, the result that caught the eye was the straight games victory against Ding Ning. She surrendered just 17 points (11-6, 11-1, 11-6, 11-4) against the player who at the time was thought by many could win a fourth World Championships women’s singles title.

It was not to be for Ding Ning and that to some extent summed up the rest of the year for Wang Manyu.

Liebherr 2019 World Championships

One month later at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest, she reached the semi-final stage losing to Chen Meng before securing the women’s doubles title in harness with Sun Yingsha.

Gold and silver was the reward but did we not expect more titles in the year from Wang Manyu?

The results could be regarded as more than acceptable. On the ITTF World Tour she was the runner up in China and later in the year at the Grand Finals, she was a semi-finalist in the Korea Republic on all three occasions, as at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships losing to Chen Meng.

In Japan and Australia she lost to Sun Yingsha, in the former in the quarter-finals, in the latter in the opening round; in Sweden she experienced defeat at the same stage when facing Mima Ito, in Germany in opposition to Wang Yidi.

Not selected

Results which would be more than acceptable to the vast majority of players but were not sufficient to gain a place in the Chinese line-up for the now postponed Hana Bank 2019 World Championships.

Successful one year ago, surely Wang Manyu has extra motivation, a point to prove and can she do what only one other player has ever achieved, retain the women’s singles title in Doha?

Compatriot, Zhang Yining, Olympic and World champion, achieved the feat in 2005 and 2006, also in 2008 and 2009; that is some act to follow.

World Tour 2020 Qatar Open Wang Manyu

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