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Starting the favourites in bid for repeat success

Sunday 22 November

Starting the favourites in bid for repeat success

The aim to repeat the success of earlier in the month, when at the Dishang 2020 ITTF World Cup tournaments, they emerged successful; China’s Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng aim for gold on Sunday 22nd November at the Bank of Communications 2020 ITTF Finals in Zhengzhou.

In the title deciding contests, in the men’s event Fan Zhendong meets Ma Long; in the women’s Chen Meng opposes Wang Manyu.

Each occupies the top seeded position in their respective events by virtue of being listed at the pinnacle of the world rankings.

Moreover, past results are in their favour. Fan Zhendong has beaten Ma Long, the no.3 seed, in four of their last five meetings on the international stage, including one week ago in a scintillating final at the Dishang 2020 Men’s World Cup.

Previously when they had met in 2019, Ma Long had prevailed on the ITTF World Tour in China but had experienced defeat in Japan and earlier in the year at the Asian Cup in Yokohama. Most significantly at the Agricultural Bank of China Grand Finals, staged just under one year ago also in Zhengzhou and in the same round, the title decider, Fan Zhendong had prevailed; a good omen, a confidence booster for Fan Zhendong.

Now, in the same venue, in the same round, they meet again in what is a battle of the generations. Ma Long at 32 years of age is almost 10 years older than 23-year-old Fan Zhendong; in the women’s singles final the age difference exists but it is not so marked. Chen Meng is 26 years old, Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed, 23 years old.

Very much, history points to Chen Meng, commencing in 2018, she has won all eight meetings; the pertinent fact being that earlier this year in March, she emerged successful in the semi-final encounter on the ITTF World Tour in Qatar.

Definite evidence in favour of Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng, but all-Chinese affairs and thus an air of familiarity must be added to the occasion; past results may count for naught.

Moreover, can you really back against Ma Long?


Editor: Ian Marshall

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