2021 World Table Tennis Championships: Day 6 Update - Butterfly Table Tennis
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2021 World Table Tennis Championships: Day 6 Update

(by Steve Hopkins)

The penultimate day has come to an end, and all that is left of the World Table Tennis Championships is four Finals which will begin on Monday at 1p local time.  Here is the Day 6 Update:

Fan Zhendong continued to live up to his billing as the tournament’s top seed (and the World’s No. 1 ranked player) as he handily topped Liang Jingkun 4-1.  There were some great points, and several of the games were tight until the end – but Fan took a 3-0 lead and split the final two games to move forward.  We have yet to see Fan pushed to a seventh game – his closest win was against Wang Chuqin (4-2) and all of his other matches have been 4-0 or 4-1 performances.

The other Men’s Singles Finalist is Truls Moregard.  Truls logged his fourth 4-3 win of the tournament, topping Timo Boll in the Semifinals.  Boll has been hampered with an abdominal strain that appeared during his match with Kanak Jha, but credit goes to Truls whose aggressive shot-making has truly been a sight to see.

After Mima Ito (and Kasumi Ishikawa and Suh Hyowon) fell in the Quarterfinals, only Chinese players were left in the Women’s Singles Event.  In fact, the four Chinese players represented four of the top five seeds, so the tournament advanced almost as expected.  There was a second surprise today as Wang Manyu (World No. 4) upset Chen Meng (World No. 1) 4-3.  Manyu will face World No.2 Sun Yingsha in the Final on Monday.

Men’s Doubles will not have a Chinese Team and will not have a Japanese Team in the final on Monday.  That is, Korea’s Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon upset Japan’s Togami/Uda team 3-1 and Sweden’s Kristian Karlsson and Mattias Falck upset China’s Lin Gaoyuan and Liang Jingkun.  Falck and Karlsson have turned out to be a formidable pairing with Karlsson’s shotmaking abilities and Falck’s pip forehand creating uncomfortable pressure with pace and spin variations.  Falck and Karlsson have now run off four major upsets in a row, taking down Grebnev/Katsman, Cho/An, Wang/Fan, and Lin/Liang.  Could there be a fifth big upset (and a gold medal) tomorrow?

The top two women in Singles, Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha, are teamed together as a Women’s Doubles Team as well.  That formidable pair have both been playing great, but will their focus be on their 1p match against Japan’s Mima Ito and Hina Hayata or on their later Singles Final?

American fans have been following Mixed Doubles very closely as we had two pairs of China/USA teams entered (in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy).  The pair of Lin Gaoyuan and Lily Zhang made it to the medal round today, but fell short against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata.  For the USA, reaching this point was historic as no American has medaled in this tournament in over 60 years.  Congratulations to USA’s Lily Zhang – and congratulations to both the US and Chinese delegations for making these pairings possible.

In the end, it was China who won the mixed Doubles Event.  Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha defeated the Japanese pair 3-0.

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