18th June 2020
One year ago, full house for Xu Xin
Concluding on Sunday 16th June, the outstanding player at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Platinum Lion Japan Open in Sapporo, was China’s Xu Xin.
He completed a clean sweep as China occupied the top step of the podium in every event.
On the penultimate day of action, he secured the mixed doubles title partnering Zhu Yuling. After accounting for Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching (11-6, 11-7, 11-4), the pair claimed gold at the final expense of Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Cheng I-Ching (12-10, 11-6, 11-5).
Success in harness with Zhu Yuling, later there was success alongside Fan Zhendong, the player with whom he had won the men’s doubles title at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in the German city of Düsseldorf. A semi-final win against colleagues Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (11-5, 11-8, 11-5) was followed by a similarly imposing victory in opposition to surprise finalists, Germany’s Benedikt Duda and Qiu Dang (12-10, 11-7, 11-9)
Two titles to his name; after in the latter rounds beating Korea Republic’s Jang Woojin (11-5, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6) and Fan Zhendong (5-11, 11-4, 11-7, 5-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-3), he overcame Chinese Taipei’s 17 year old Lin Yun-Ju (11-9, 14-12, 8-11, 11-3, 11-8) to reserve the top step of the podium in the men’s singles event.
Notably, in the penultimate round Lin Yun-Ju had beaten China’s Sun Wen (6-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4), very much the surprise package of the tournament. In the opening round he had overcome Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto (6-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-9, 11-4), followed by similar shock wins when facing Korea Republic’s Lee Sangsu (11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-7) and Liang Jingkun (11-6, 13-11, 2-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7).
It was for Xu Xin his 15th ITTF World Tour men’s singles title in 26 final appearances; for Lin Yun-Ju and Sun Wen, it was his first ever such semi-final appearance.
A landmark tournament for Xu Xin, it was somewhat special for Sun Yingsha. She was crowned women’s singles champion. Required to qualify, she ended the hopes of colleagues. At the quarter-final stage she beat Wang Manyu (11-8, 12-10, 11-4, 11-9), prior to overcoming Chen Meng (5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 14-12, 11-6) and Liu Shiwen (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-3) to seal the title.
Success meant Sun Yingsha secured the second ITTF World Tour women’s singles title of her career and repeated the feat of two years ago; in 2017 in Tokyo, she had also started her journey in the qualification tournament and had emerged successful!
Meanwhile, for Liu Shiwen it was 29th appearance in an ITTF World Tour women’s singles final, the 16th time she has finished the runner up.
Defeats for Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen but together there was gold; they combined to claim the women’s doubles title at the expense of Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu to clinch gold (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-9).
For both, as pairs, it was only their second appearance in an ITTF World Tour women’s doubles final; previously Chen Meng and Liu Shiwen had won in 2015 in Chengdu, Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu earlier in the year in Doha.
Editor: Ian Marshall