09 Oct 2020

Two gold medal contests were decided at the 2020 China National Championships in Weihai, Shandong Province on Friday 9th October as the women’s singles and men’s doubles events drew to an exciting conclusion.

The three names that take the plaudits of the day are Chen Meng, Ma Long and Xu Xin.

Simply the best!

World no.1 Chen Meng enjoyed an excellent start to Friday’s proceedings, striking a commanding 4-0 victory over Wang Manyu (11-8, 11-6, 11-3, 12-10) to seal her spot in the women’s singles final. In the corresponding match, Sun Yingsha brushed aside Gu Yuting by an even wider margin (11-6, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3).

Both great competitors on the court and good friends off the court, the two finalists were very familiar with each other. A gripping encounter in prospect as the player leading the way in today’s game met face-to-face with undoubtedly one of the big stars of tomorrow.

A quick start from Chen, it didn’t take long for her to establish a significant advantage. Powering through game one by a nine-point margin, Chen backed it up with another successful outing in game two.

No room for error, Sun was forced into a tight corner and began to see her comeback chances thin with each passing moment. The third game proved somewhat dramatic as the expedite rule was brought into play at 8-9, after a period of 10 minutes had elapsed; alternate serves, with the receiver winning the point if making an effective 13th return. It caught Chen slightly off guard – in the end she eventually extended her advantage to three games:

“The score in the third game had been a stalemate, then suddenly there was the rotation of the serve. The first ball, the umpire called one, and I thought it was a net ball! The umpire’s counting indeed interfered with me, but this is also a new attempt to accumulate experience and have more emergency preparations in the future.” Chen Meng

The scores sitting at 3-0, the match was nearing its conclusion. Sun kept fighting until the very end, but ultimately there was no stopping Chen today. A thunderous 4-0 victory for Chen Meng (11-2, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9), and another satisfying day at the office:

“Today’s two games are very worthy of summarising. We both are familiar with each other, and the opponent’s offense is very powerful. Today, in these two games, I put my head down, only thinking about focusing on every point. The championship still has doubles tomorrow – after all matches have finished, I have to make a comprehensive summary of the gains and losses, work on how to reverse the bad, and play better in the World Cup.” Chen Meng

Podium celebrations (Photo: tabletennis world magazine)
Experience proves king, Ma Long and Xu Xin prevail

Men’s doubles glory was also on the line on Friday as Ma Long and Xu Xin faced off against younger challengers Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun.

No matter who steps up to the table, when facing the formidable duo of Ma Long and Xu Xin, the opposition will always have an uphill task ahead of them. However, Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun actually produced the cleaner start to the final, edging the opening game by three points.

After that the tide changed with the subsequent game completely controlled by Ma and Xu – their vast experience and mutual understanding over the years has produced a smooth and flowing co-operation that few can challenge. Ma and Xu didn’t put a foot wrong from that point on, coming through a nail-biting start to capture the title (15-13, 14-12, 11-3, 11-3).

Congratulations to Xu Xin and Ma Long on their men’s doubles success! (Photo: tabletennis world magazine)

“In recent years, young athletes have had a lot of impact. The key to winning today’s game is that we communicated more and worked hard to find changes when we were behind… these changes have also played a role. The co-operation between the two of us is not only a tacit understanding, but we also try our best to seek breakthroughs in technical and tactical play. We have also learnt a lot from young athletes.” Ma Long

“I think communication is still the most important thing. For many times, effects we made in the game are much less than expected. At this time, we have to keep increasing communication, and look for opportunities when we are behind. When we get the ball rolling, the opponent will also be affected. I think we should really learn from young athletes. They have a more advanced play style. However, we don’t intend to rest on our laurels, the pressure of various competitions prompts us to go further, and strengthen the change of our play style.” Xu Xin

Watch the dramatic conclusion LIVE

You can watch both finals LIVE on the ITTF’s Facebook and YouTube channels:

Women’s Doubles and Men’s Singles Semi-Finals (10:00 local / 02:00 GMT)

Women’s Doubles and Men’s Singles Finals (19:00 local / 11:00 GMT)

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