World No.1s Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha have emerged champions of the Men’s and Women’s Singles categories of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals Durban 2023 respectively.
In the Men’s Singles final, Fan Zhendong successfully defended his title after facing off against his fellow countryman World No.2 Wang Chuqin. Fan, who currently holds the top spot in the world rankings, displayed nerves of steel after Wang saved six match points, and eventually won the game 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 11-3 to maintain his status as the reigning World No.1.
After the win, Fan Zhendong remarked, “I did feel the pressure leading up to the match but managed to hold my nerve for the win. This is my first time in Durban, and I am happy that there are many fans supporting me in person and from the TV, as I would not have been able to do so well without their support.”
In the Women’s Singles final, Sun Yingsha took on World No.4 Chen Meng. After a closely contested battle, Sun Yingsha emerged victorious with a hard-fought victory (5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6) over her compatriot. This would be the 22-year-old’s maiden World Championships title after falling short at the 2021 instalment in Houston.
Expressing her joy and gratitude, Sun Yingsha shared, “It was not easy for me to win the game. I lost to Wang Manyu in the final last time, but perhaps I was luckier this time. Today, Chen Meng and I are both winners, and I have learned a lot from her as she is a very respectable opponent. This win has given me a lot of affirmation – as I have met with a lot of difficulties along the way, but I have managed to overcome them.”
On her plans in the aftermath of her win, she said, “I hope to go back and have a good rest for now, and then work to get better and better in the following competitions.”
As the curtains close on a special and historic World Championships, the table tennis community celebrates the exceptional performances of not only the athletes but also the host city of Durban in providing a platform to promote the sport globally and inspire the future generation.