LIEBHERR 2018 ITTF MEN’S WORLD CUP
Sunday 21st October
Fan Zhendong wins in Paris
The winner in 2016 when the tournament was staged in the German city of Saarbrücken, China’s Fan Zhendong emerged successful at the Liebherr 2018 ITTF Men’s World Cup in Paris on the evening of Sunday 21st October.
At the final hurdle, the top seed, he beat Germany’s Timo Boll, the no.2 seed, in five games (11-9, 11-5, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6) and thus maintained his unblemished record against the German. They have now met four times on the international scene; Fan Zhendong has won all four encounters.
Earlier, en route to the final, Fan Zhendong accounted for Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi, the no.16 seed (11-7, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8), before overcoming Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus, the no.15 seed (11-3, 11-6, 12-10, 11-6) to reserve his place in the penultimate round. Impressive progress, it was the same in the semi-final; he overcame colleague, Lin Gaoyuan, the no.4 seed (10-12, 12-10, 15-13, 11-7, 11-6).
Defeat for Lin Gaoyuan but there was more than consolation, playing in only his second ever Men’s World Cup tournament, he secured third place; in the play-off contest, he accounted for Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the defending champion and the no.3 seed. Lin Gaoyuan prevailed in five games (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3).
Success for China, against foreign opposition, not a defeat in sight; prior to his semi-final clash against Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan had beaten Kanak Jha of the United States, the no.18 seed (11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-8), before ousting Japan’s Koki Niwa, the no.8 seed (12-10, 5-11, 14-12, 11-9, 11-5).
Notably for Fan Zhendong, in what is now three appearances in the Liebherr Men’s World Cup, he has always reached the final; in addition to winning in Saarbrücken, on debut in Halmstad in 2015 he reached the final, losing to very determined colleague in the guise of Ma Long.
In Paris it was a very determined Fan Zhendong.