07 Mar 2020

The first titles decided, the men’s singles semi-finalists realised, the women’s singles gold medal contenders known; the penultimate day of action, Saturday 7th March, at the 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open in Doha was one of the highest quality.

Ma Long and Xu Xin won the men's doubles, colleagues Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling secured the women’s doubles top prize but no Chinese clean sweep possible, Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito emerged the mixed doubles victors.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Meanwhile at the semi-final stage of the men’s singles event Fan Zhendong faces Wang Chuqin, Xu Xin opposes England’s Liam Pitchford; in the women’s doubles final, Chen Meng carries the banner for China, she confronts Mima Ito.

A day of sporting excellence, five points…..

Mima Ito on fire

At the semi-final stage of the women’s singles event, Mima Ito, the no.3 seed, beat China’s Ding Ning, the no.6 seed and reigning Olympic champion in devastating style (11-6, 14-12, 11-0, 11-5). The result totally turned the tables on their most recent encounter; in early February on the ITTF World Tour in Germany, Ding Ning had prevailed in five games (11-7, 11-13, 14-12, 11-8, 11-5).

Defeat for Ding Ning, who had won in Qatar in 2013, there was also a semi-final defeat for Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed and defending champion. In an all Chinese semi-final, she was beaten by Chen Meng, the top seed (10-12, 11-7, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5, 11-4).

Mima Ito in the fast lane (Photo: Hussein Sayed)


Liam Pitchford once again semi-finalist

Semi-finalist two weeks ago on the ITTF World Tour in Hungary, England’s Liam Pitchford, the no.15 seed, beat Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (14-12, 11-8, 11-5, 11-7) to once again reach the penultimate round.

Furthermore, he owes Chuang Chih-Yuan a debt of gratitude; in Hungary, at the semi-final stage, he was beaten by Japan’s Yukiya Uda (11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7). In Doha, Chuang Chih-Yuan had ousted Yukiya Uda in the quarter-finals (9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-5).

In the penultimate round Liam Pitchford faces Xu Xin, the quarter-final winner in opposition to Frenchman Simon Gauzy, the no.14 seed (6-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-7); in the opposite half of the draw Fan Zhendong, the top seed, confronts Wang Chuqin, the no.9 seed, in an all-Chinese affair. At the quarter-final stage Fan Zhendong beat Sweden’s Jon Persson (11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 6-11, 12-10), Wang Chuqin overcame colleague, Liang Jingkun, the no.12 seed (11-5, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7).

Fan Zhendong beat Jon Persson to reach the semi-final round (Photo: Hussein Sayed)


Ma Long and Xu Xin repeat first success

Making their presence felt, in 2009 Ma Long and Xu Xin won their first ever ITTF World Tour men’s doubles title when they succeeded in Doha. Now in 2020 they repeated the success to secure their 14th such win.

In the final they beat England’s Paul Drinkhall and Liam Pitchford (11-8, 8-11, 11-1, 11-6), the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallists.

It was the first time an English pair had ever reached the final of a men’s doubles event on either the ITTF World Tour or at an ITTF Challenge Series tournament.

Xu Xin (left) and (right) Ma Long, the men’s doubles winners once again in Doha (Photo: Hussein Sayed)


Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling add to Bremen success

A fourth appearance in an ITTF World Tour women’s doubles final and a second success as a pair; China’s Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling, the no.2 seeds, beat Japanese teenagers Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki, the top seeds (11-4, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9) to arrest the title.

Previously in 2018 Wang Manyu and Zhu Yuling had been runners up in the Korea Republic and in 2019 in China, before winning in the German city of Bremen.

Meanwhile for Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki the run came to an end; last October they had won in Austria prior to succeeding at the Grand Finals.

Time for a selfie, Wang Manyu (left) and (right) Zhu Yuling (Photo: Hussein Sayed)


Japanese duo justifies top seeded position

Top seeds, Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito secured mixed doubles gold; in the final they beat China’s Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha, the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games mixed team gold medallists. They won in four games (11-8, 7-11, 11-4, 15-13).

It was their eighth ITTF World Tour mixed doubles final since joining forces in early July last year in the Korea Republic but it only their second title. In 2019 they won in Bulgaria, before being the runners up in the Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, Germany and at the Grand Finals; earlier this year they were again the runners up, second place was their lot once more in Germany.

Meanwhile for Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha it was their second appearance in an ITTF World Tour mixed doubles final; in 2018 they were the silver medallists in the Korea Republic.

The mixed doubles medallists (left to right) Wang Chuqin, Sun Yingsha, Mima Ito, Jun Mizutani (Photo: Hussein Sayed)
World Tour 2020 Qatar Open ma long xu xin Mima Ito Chen Meng Zhu Yuling Wang Manyu Liam Pitchford Jun Mizutani Wang Chuqin

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Day 4 - 2020 ITTF Qatar Open

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