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Do some tournaments suit some players better than others?

Thursday 15 October

Do some tournaments suit some players better than others?

The tournament format; does that suit certain players better than others or is it just a matter of chance?

Could Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching be a case in point? She is named on the entry list for the forthcoming coming Dishang 2020 Women’s World Cup which starts in Weihai on Sunday 8th November.

To date the now 28-year-old has made six appearances in the prestigious annual tournament; the first being in 2014 in the Austrian city of Linz. On that occasion, she finished in second place in her group behind Hungary’s Georgina Pota, prior to experiencing a first round defeat at the hands of Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, a player very much in form. Eventually, Kasumi Ishikawa finished in third place.

Defeat at the hands of the bronze medallist; in fact for Cheng I-Ching, the end of the road in the Women’s World Cup has always been at the hands of a player who gained a podium finish. Moreover, on her next five outings it was always the winner or runner up who ended adventures.

Most memorably in 2016 in Philadelphia, she was beaten in the final by Japan’s Miu Hirano. In 2015 in Sendai, 2017 in Markham and 2019 in Chengdu, she also lost to the champion elect; all three most worthy names from China. In Sendai and Chengdu it was Liu Shiwen, in Markham Zhu Yuling. Meanwhile in Chengdu in 2018 she experienced a semi-final loss, once again losing to Zhu Yuling, the eventual runner up.

Two semi-finals and on both occasions converted into bronze medals; furthermore, revenge wins. Having lost to Miu Hirano in the 2016 final, one year later she prevailed against her nemesis in the play-off match. Likewise in 2017, she beat Kasumi Ishikawa, to avenge the debut defeat.

Now in Weihai, Chen I-Ching is one of the players with a realistic chance of a podium finish. At no.8 on the current women’s world rankings, she is the fourth highest on duty, the respective top three players on the global list – China’s Chen Meng, Japan’s Mima Ito and Sun Yingsha, also from China – head the order.

All three are players who the ITTF World Tour have enjoyed notable success. Chen Meng has won 15 women’s singles titles, Mima Ito has prevailed eight times, Sun Yingsha has four such honours. For Chen I-Ching, the number is zero.

Do some tournaments suit some players better than others?

Editor: Ian Marshall

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