The match of the day – the men’s singles final – was contested between Ma Long and Fan Zhendong, the two outstanding Chinese men’s players from two different generations; this wonderful singles final lasted for whole seven games.
Fan Zhendong won first game 11-5 to establish control, and the two athlete fell into a stalemate in the subsequent game. Ma Long won the second 14-12, before Ma secured the next two games 11-3 and 11-5.
In the world table tennis circles in recent years, almost all athletes standing opposite of Ma Long can feel his tremendous control over the game. This was seen in fact as Ma beat Fan by 11-3 and 11-5 in the next two games.
“I had been pressed and beaten in the next few games, but I kept telling myself to not give up. I had troubles on slow strokes. It’s not easy to adjust yourself in one match. Playing against Ma Long is very difficult, He goes all out in every game, and we all go all out.” Fan Zhendong
After taking a 3-1 lead over Fan, the younger player came back with 11-6 and 11-9 wins, bringing us back to three games each. In the decider, Fan took an initial lead of 4-1 and was chased down by Ma to 7-7.
“Ma Long’s mastery of seizing opportunities and offense-defense balancing when falling behind is No. 1 in the world. At this time, I had to constantly adjust myself. Get over when it’s difficult, pull through when I can’t handle—this is the most valuable thing I learn in this match.” Fan Zhendong
Eventually, Fan won the seventh game 11-7 to collect the men’s singles gold medal, making it his third time winning the Chinese National Championship after having previously won in 2014 and 2016.
Over at the women’s doubles final – held prior to the men’s singles final – Chen Meng and Wang Manyu faced Sun Yingsha and Wang Yidi.
The world no.1 Chen Meng had previously won the women’s singles event, and Wang Manyu had recorded a gold medal alongside Wang Chuqin in the mixed doubles. The goal for gold was already set for this pair.
The first two games were tight affairs as Chen and Wang lost the first 11-13 and won the second 12-10. It is worth noting that Chen and Wang fell behind by 5-10 in the second game before they won seven points in a row.
“When we were behind as 5-10 in the second game, the tactics in our mind were still relatively clear, we kept a firm mentality, catch up every point as much as possible, but also to prepare for the next game. ” Chen Meng
Chen and Wang continued in a strong fashion and won the third game 11-5, but then Sun and Wang hit back with two consecutive 11-5 wins. The score was 2-3 in favour of Sun and Wang, and things looked tough for Chen and Wang.
“The fourth and fifth games I slowed down, and I was not very active in speed. We also discussed before the game, I had to be fast with my connections. It was sister Meng helped me at last.” Wang Manyu
Chen as an athlete always steps up in such situations, and that is what she did this time as well, shouldering responsibility and changing the face of the match. In the sixth and seventh games, the pair were back to their best and flipped the final from 2-3 to 4-3, winning 11-9 and 11-6 to win the gold medals.
“The good thing about her was that she still had a strong belief of winning on the court. The reason we could win this game was also about our desire to win. This championship is a brand-new start for me. I have played more than a dozen national competitions; this was the first time of winning a champion in the singles event. About the doubles, we could turn the scale in a difficult situation in the final, and I believe that we will cooperate better in the future.” Chen Meng
“All my matches are worth summarizing, especially in this doubles final, we won under very difficult circumstances. For me, it’s a test of winning the game when encountering difficulties. Also, the technical problems I met in this championship are experiences worthy of summing up.” Wang Manyu