The eagerly anticipated finale to the men’s singles competition commenced at 21.00 as Liang Jingkun and Wang Chuqin battled it out for the top step of the podium.
Liang Jingkun possesses a positive attitude no matter the situation, times his contact with the ball early, and plays with no inhibitions. Wang Chuqin’s greatest assist is his excellent control of rhythm and impact, very rarely does he throw away “cheap” points. Two young stars looking to leave their mark, the stage was set for a thrilling contest.
A tense start to proceedings, the two men sat level after the opening eight points – Liang Jingkun managed to pull ahead and held a game point opportunity but couldn’t take advantage with Wang Chuqin stealing game one. Wang managed a comeback in the second game as well, recovering from 7-0 to draw level at 10-10, however, Liang held firm to make it one game apiece.
The tension between the two finalists was also present in game three with both players locked at 8-8. Liang then picked up three points in a row to move ahead for the first time. All of a sudden Liang appeared to find an extra spring in his step and before long his lead extended to 3-1, needing just one more game to secure victory.
Wang stepped his offensive up a gear and he was instantly rewarded for the change to his approach, forcing the match into a sixth game but a seventh wasn’t on the horizon.
The two finalists continued to give it their all and at 7-7 all was still to play for. Wang looked to be closing in on another game win, adding the next two points to his tally, but Liang kept fighting and eventually seized the game to defeat his younger colleague 4-2 (9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10). Success for Liang Jingkun and with it the title of men’s singles champion in Lingshui!
Fan Zhendong took home the third spot on the podium after Xu Chenhao withdrew from their head-to-head encounter due to injury.