T2 Diamond – Joho Bahru, Malaysia
Sunday 21st July
Lin Yun-Ju shock winner in Johor Bahru
A supreme talent, against the odds, only 17 years old, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Yun-Ju won the men’s singles title at the T2 Diamond tournament in Johor Bahru on Sunday 21st July.
It was without doubt the most outstanding performance of the year; in fact it ranks alongside the best ever!
In a competition where matches were best of seven games, each game to 11 points but no two point differential; after 24 minutes any remaining games played first to 5 points; Lin Yun-Ju responded and he responded in style.
The no.12 seed, a position that suggested an opening round exit, Lin Yun-Ju beat Japan’s Jun Mizutani (11-9, 11-10, 11-7, 11-8), before recording the best win of his career. He accounted for China’s Ma Long, the reigning Olympic and World champion (8-11, 11-2, 4-11, 11-8, 5-3, 5-4) to reserve his place in the semi-final round where the good form continued.
He beat Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting (11-9, 11-6, 11-8, 11-7), prior to accounting for China’s Fan Zhendong (11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-5, 5-0) to arrest the title.
Impressive against Fan Zhendong, a player who had been in good form to reach the final; he had accounted for Brazil’s Hugo Calderano in the opening round (11-8, 11-10, 11-6, 11-2), followed by success in opposition to colleagues Lin Gaoyuan (11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8) and Xu Xin (11-6, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8).
Success for Lin Yun-Ju; in the counterpart women’s singles event, it was success for China’s Zhu Yuling and very much a return to winning ways, after a recent disappointing run of form on the Seamaster 2019 ITTF World Tour.
After accounting for Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa (11-6, 11-7, 11-0, 7-11, 11-8), Zhu Yuling overcame colleague Sun Yingsha (11-6, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8) to reserve her place in the last four where progress continued. She beat surprise semi-finalist Miyu Kato, like Kasumi Ishikawa from Japan (11-6, 11-3, 11-7, 11-6), prior to securing the title, at the final expense of Wang Manyu (11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 5-2).
Impressively, in round two Miyu Kato had beaten China’s Chen Meng, the reigning world no.1 (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 11-6, 2-5, 5-4).
Meanwhile, in the opposite half of the draw, Wang Manyu had ousted Austria’s Sofia Polcanova (12-10, 11-7, 11-3, 11-5), followed by success against Germany’s Han Ying (11-7, 11-6, 11-6, 11-10) and colleague, Ding Ning (8-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-7, 4-5, 5-2, 5-2) to reach the final. Notably, it was the fourth time Wang Manyu had played Ding Ning in an international tournament; it was the fourth time she had won.
Disappointment for Ding Ning but there was consolation; she beat Miyu Kato to secure third place (11-3, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6). In the men’s singles event third place finished in the hands of Xu Xin; in the play-off contest he accounted for Wong Chun Ting (6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8, 5-2).
Editor: Ian Marshall
Photo Credit: T2 Diamond