Fan Zhendong crowned in Weihai
Intense competition, hard fought encounters, Fan Zhendong won the men’s singles title at the 2020 China National Championships in Weihai, Shandong province on Saturday 10th October; thus bringing play to a conclusion in a tournament where the level more than matched that of any on the international scene.
The win came after Chen Meng and Wang Manyu had clinched women’s doubles gold, thus underlining the fact continued success for China in major events on the international scene is set to continue in the foreseeable future.
Only 23 years old but his name familiar on the global scene since he won the boys’ singles title at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Hyderabad, at the final hurdle Fan Zhendong accounted for Ma Long in a full seven games contest (11-5, 12-14, 3-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7). A tense affair having one round earlier extracted revenge in a more comprehensive manner; he overcome Liang Jingkun in five games (5-11, 13-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4), the player who had ended his hopes at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships in Budapest.
Success for Fan Zhendong against Ma Long, a player from a generation earlier, who later this month he will celebrate his 32nd birthday, marks continued success. On their most recent encounters on the international scene, both in 2019, Fan Zhendong prevailed. He emerged successful in June when they met at the quarter-final stage on the ITTF World Tour in June and in December in the final at the Chengdu Airlines Men’s World Cup.
Victory for the younger generation, in the counterpart semi-final, it was the reverse scenario, Ma Long ended the hopes of 20-year-old Wang Chuqin (11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 6-11, 11-6).
Meanwhile, in the women’s doubles once again Wang Manyu proved her worth as a women’s doubles partner; at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, she had partnered Sun Yingsha to gold; in Weihai, she did the same in harness with Chen Meng.
At the semi-final stage, the duo ousted teenagers Chen Yi and Kuai Man (11-9, 11-9, 11-3, 8-11, 11-9), before securing the title at the expense of Sun Yingsha and Wang Yidi (11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6). In the opposite half of the draw Sun Yingsha and Wang Yidi had ended the aspirations of pen-holders, Zhang Qiang and Qi Fei.
Play concluded, eyes now focus on the ITTF Women’s World Cup to be held in the same venue, the Weihai Nanhai Olympic Sport Centre from Sunday 8th to Tuesday 10th November.
Editor: Ian Marshall