20 Nov 2020

The third event in the #RESTART series, the prestigious Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals officially commenced on Thursday 19th November and, as anticipated, there was no shortage of drama at the Zhengzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

Here are the main talking points from the opening day of play in Zhengzhou, China:

by Simon Daish

Revenge for Suh Hyowon and Jang Woojin

Two players with plenty in common, Korea Republic’s Suh Hyowon and Jang Woojin were both on a mission to avenge recent defeats to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and Tomokazu Harimoto from their respective head-to-head encounters at the Dishang 2020 ITTF World Cups in Weihai.

On the receiving end of a straight games loss courtesy of Ishikawa at the Women’s World Cup, this time out it was Suh who produced a commanding display to topple the Japanese star 4-1 (11-8, 3-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-5). Likewise, Jang was in a vengeful mood, reversing his full distance defeat to Harimoto at the Men’s World Cup, powering past the teenage ace in a dramatic thriller (6-11, 2-11, 11-7, 7-11, 12-10, 11-2, 11-5).

Another champion bites the dust

Kasumi Ishikawa and Tomokazu Harimoto weren’t the only former ITTF Finals singles gold medallists to face elimination at the first hurdle in Zhengzhou with 2010 women’s singles champion Feng Tianwei suffering the same fate.

The Singapore icon couldn’t capitalise on her lead following the conclusion of game three as German opponent Petrissa Solja struck a shock 4-2 victory over the no.6 seed (11-8, 8-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9), and with it ensured European representation in the quarter-finals.

“It was a roller coaster match, with a lot of ups and downs. In the last game I was 2-8 down because I rushed it too much knowing I had the chance to win this match. I tried to stay calm, take it slow and I am very satisfied with my performance.” Petrissa Solja

Hugo Calderano turns up the heat

Disappointed to have experienced an opening round exit last week at the Men’s World Cup, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano was looking to avoid the same fate in Zhengzhou and passed the test with flying colours!

Facing a potential banana skin match against England’s Liam Pitchford, a player he had previously tasted defeat in all three previous world ranking event head-to-heads, Calderano appeared to relish the challenge from minute one. Needing just the four games to complete the task (11-4, 11-4, 13-11, 12-10), Calderano could not be any happier with his day’s work.

China’s finest avoid early setbacks

Overall, it was a very good day for the host nation players in action on day one with all seven coming away from their respective fixtures with a win to their name.

Six of the Chinese contingent recorded perfect 4-0 victories: in the men’s draw defending champion Fan Zhendong accounted for Korea Republic’s Jeoung Youngsik, while Ma Long and Xu Xin outclassed Germany’s Patrick Franziska and Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna. Over in the women’s singles event, Sun Yingsha, Wang Yidi and Wang Manyu all registered convincing wins.

However, there was one match-up between China and Japan in the women’s draw which proved much tighter as Chen Meng, a player who is searching for a record fourth consecutive title at the event, endured a brave effort from Miyu Kato (11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4).

Tricky start but Chen Meng moves through (Photo: Rémy Gros)
Fans make their long-awaited return

Our fifth and final headline story of the day marks a significant step in the return of international table tennis with the presence of fans in the stands once again.

The move is yet another sign of the things moving in the right direction, thanks to all the hard work and planning which has been going on behind the scenes to make #RESTART a reality.

We missed you and we are looking forward to hosting you guys again ❤️❤️

The best fans 🎉🎊


Posted by International Table Tennis Federation on Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Features Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals ITTF Finals Chen Meng Hugo Calderano Petrissa Solja Jang Woojin Suh Hyowon

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Day 4 - Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals