Wang/Sun retain mixed doubles title, China confirms men's singles crown at Durban table tennis worlds

Durban, South Africa, May 27 (IANS) Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha retained their mixed doubles title, while China has confirmed the men’s singles title at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) Finals following Friday’s action.

In a repeat of the tournament’s mixed doubles final in Houston two years ago, the top-ranked Chinese pair overwhelmed world No. 2 Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata of Japan 11-6, 11-2, 11-7, reports Xinhua.

“We had encountered some challenges in previous matches here, but today we encouraged each other on the court to win,” commented Sun.

It will be an all-Chinese affair in deciding the men’s singles winner after four paddlers swept semifinal berths in the event.

Liang Jingkun scored an emphatic 4-2 victory over fourth seed Harimoto. After two players shared the spoils in the first four games, Liang won 11-9 in both of the following two to advance.

“It was not an easy win. I was more composed and put on an all-around performance on the court. This win can boost my confidence,” said Liang, who regarded Harimoto as the strongest opponent to the Chinese team whether in terms of his young age or techniques.

Liang will lock horns with top seed Fan Zhendong, who accounted for Omar Assar of Egypt, the second African player to reach the World Championships quarterfinals, in straight games.

Second-seeded Wang Chuqin ended Danish underdog Anders Lind’s campaign in Durban with a 4-1 win over the world No. 180.

Wang will next take on Ma Long after the reigning Olympic champion dispatched teammate Lin Gaoyuan 4-1.

In the women’s singles quarterfinals, Wang Yidi suffered a heartbroken loss to Japan’s Hayata in full games.

Trailing two games to three, and 5-8 in the sixth game, Wang snatched six straight points to force a decider. In a nerve-wracking deciding game, which witnessed exchanges of match points between the two paddlers, Hayata managed to come out on top 21-19.

“A tough seventh game. I led many times, but I failed to win it. I was not quite determined at that time with a bit fluke. The more crucial time it was, the more mistakes I made,” Wang admitted.

Top seed Sun Yingsha outplayed German defender Han Ying 4-0 and will meet Hayata in the semifinals.

In the bottom half, Chen Xingtong continued her favorable momentum built on a full-game thrilling win against Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei in the previous round, posting a 4-0 victory over defending champion Wang Manyu.

“I just played what I wanted to play without any burden against my teammate,” commented Chen.

Chen’s semifinal opponent will be Olympic champion Chen Meng, who got past Mima Ito of Japan 4-0.

“Mima is a strong opponent and brings some changes every time when we compete. I executed my tactics more resolutely, and didn’t give my opponent many chances today,” Chen Meng explained.

In the women’s doubles semifinals, Chen Meng and Wang Yidi emerged victorious 3-1 against Japan’s Miyuu Kihara and Miyu Nagasaki, but two-time winners Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu fell 3-0 to South Korean duo Jeon Ji-hee and Shin Yu-bin.

Also on Friday, Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin got past Cho Dae-seong and Lee Sang-su 3-1, setting up a men’s doubles final showdown with another South Korean pair Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon.

–IANS

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