by Simon Daish
Wang Manyu brushes aside Japanese threat
Considered the biggest threat to China’s dominance at the summit, but the prospect of facing Japan’s Mima Ito, no.2 seed, didn’t faze Wang Manyu.
Possessing a strong head-to-head record against Ito from previous world ranking event encounters, Wang entered the match with confidence on her side. Dominant from start to finish, Wang ran out the comfortable winner (11-3, 11-4, 11-9, 11-6) to reach her second women’s singles final in successive years.
Gladiators clash as Ma Long bests Xu Xin
Two of the greatest of all time, Ma Long and Xu Xin faced off in a match of epic proportions with a spot in the men’s singles final on the line.
A tantalising affair, the two thrilled spectators with world class rallies throughout. Two players who both belong in the final, but only one could move through and it was five-time champion Ma who fulfilled that accomplishment (11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7).
Chen Meng lays down marker for young prodigy to follow
Meeting for the second time in #RESTART action with their previous head-to-head coming at the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup in Weihai, Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha stood opposite one another again in Zhengzhou.
Battling it out for gold earlier in the month, this time the two were looking to earn their place in the final. Another tight contest, ultimately it was Chen who held the upper hand by a convincing 4-0 margin (11-9, 11-8, 11-8, 12-10). Defeat for Sun but the 20-year-old can take heart from another brave display against one of the very best on the international stage.
China locks out title deciding contests
In addition to the all-Chinese women’s singles final, the title up for grabs in the men’s singles draw will also be awarded to China after Fan Zhendong secured his ticket to yet another final.
Facing a stern challenge from Jang Woojin, defending champion Fan was forced to dig deep against the rising star from Korea Republic but eventually came good 4-1 (11-8, 11-4, 13-15, 11-8, 11-5). The win sees Fan move on through to the gold medal match where Ma Long awaits in a repeat of the recent Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup final!
Talk about déjà vu!
The similarities to last year’s edition of the ITTF Finals are no coincidence.
Ma Long’s semi-final victory over Xu Xin was a repeat fixture from 2019 and now sets up a head-to-head with Fan Zhendong in a retelling of last year’s final. We’ll also see the same two players who fought it out for last year’s women’s singles title do battle in the very same match one year on.
Two repeat finals scheduled for Sunday 22nd November, the four players appear to enjoy competing at the ITTF Finals!