by Kabir Nagpal
The winner of the women’s singles title, 20-year-old Sun Yingsha certainly made an impression in the manner of her journey.
Losing her first two matches against Wang Manyu and Ding Ning, her form did not speak for a long-lasting run. Then came the stunning recovery against Wang Yidi in the quarter-finals – arguably the toughest challenger from Battle Two – followed by two superb wins against compatriots Wang Manyu and Chen Xingtong. Who could have written this?!
Chen Xingtong stole the headlines with her speed of play that even the world no.1 Chen Meng could not handle.
Having produced a spirited fightback to see off the ‘Queen of Hearts’ Ding Ning in the quarter-finals, she repeated the feat in the semi-finals against Chen Meng – the recently crowned champion of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup and Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals. The final may not have worked out in her favour, but where does the 23-year-old go from here within the Chinese athletes’ hierarchy?
If there was someone who knew how to seize the opportunity in Macao, it has to be Wang Yidi. Her attacking nature on the table makes one wonder what she can achieve at even more prestigious international competitions.
Wang was aware of the high level of competition. Her win over Korea Republic’s Jeon Jihee and then the full-length match against eventual winner Sun Yingsha were statements of intent. Now, if the future of the Chinese team are athletes such as Chen Xingtong and Wang Yidi – the headache of choice for their coaches might be a welcome one.
Similar to her compatriots, the pressure for succeeding at WTT’s first-ever event was high for Wang Manyu – especially after she was ranked first following the Top Four Seed Battle.
An incredibly consistent player, Wang favoured the longer rallies against Sun Yingsha and Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching, leading to wins over both. Her determination was evident throughout the tournament.