China defeated Japan yesterday to win the Women’s Championship Division of the World Table tennis Championships in Germany.
Seeded first for the 2018 competition and aiming to defend their crown, the China squad understandably entered the tie as favourites but in a breathtaking start to the match it was Japan who struck first as Liu Shiwen suffered a surprise five-game defeat to Mima Ito (9-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 10-12).
Looking for a quick response China neutralised the deficit through Ding Ning, who saw off Miu Hirano without dropping a game (11-6, 12-10, 13-11) and not long after the advantage was in China’s court with Zhu Yuling proving too strong for Kasumi Ishikawa (11-4, 11-7, 11-8). Avenging her early defeat, Liu Shiwen put in a strong showing against Miu Hirano (11-6, 11-6, 12-10) to see China lift the trophy for a fourth consecutive occasion.
In the men’s championship division Sweden’s hopes of staging a major day seven upset were dashed in the semi-finals with the host nation losing out to China by a 3-0 score-line. Unable to provide any real issues for the opposition, Team Sweden fell behind early in the tie following Ma Long’s straight games victory over Mattias Karlsson (11-6, 11-5, 13-11). Fan Zhendong accounted for Kristian Karlsson in the second fixture of the match (13-11, 8-11, 11-3, 11-2) before Xu Xin chipped in with a win against Jon Persson (11-6, 13-11, 11-5) to seal China’s spot in the final.
The team awaiting China in the final is Germany after the top seeded outfit successfully ousted Korea Republic from the competition. Germany made a slow start to the tie with Patrick Franziska losing out to Lee Sangsu in the opener (11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 5-11) but Timo Boll’s positive display against Jeoung Youngsik levelled the scores (12-10, 10-12, 11-4, 11-5).
Not up to full fitness, Dimitrij Ovtcharov struggled to hold off Jang Woojin in the third fixture of the match (6-11, 5-11, 6-11) but Germany responded strongly yet again with Boll claiming a narrow five games win over Lee Sangsu (9-11, 11-8, 3-11, 11-13, 12-10). Then in
dramatic style Patrick Franziska handed his team the win, beating Jeoung Youngsik by three games to one (11-6, 11-8, 4-11, 11-9) to close out the tie. (ITTF website)