Asian Championships Review
(by Steve Hopkins/Photo by ITTF)
The ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships were held last week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. With the top three seeds in Men’s Singles and the top five seeds in Women’s Singles all being from China, the resulting Chinese event wins was not a surprise. Still, the degree to which Chinese players dominated every event may be the biggest story of the tournament.
World No. 1 Xu Xin won the Men’s Singles event. His biggest challenge actually came in the Round of 128 where Xu faced World No. 198 Wang Tai-Wei of Taipei. Xu Xin began strong by winning the first two games (11-8 and 11-2). Tai-Wei traded blows with Xu Xin in the next two games and managed to even the score with two narrow victories (9-11 and 13-15). But Xu Xin logged a great fifth game to secure the match win by a 3-2 score. Xu Xin played six more matches in the event, and lost only two games winning each match by either a 3-0 or 3-1 score.
The early matches went mostly as expected with top seeds advancing through to the quarterfinals. Korean players Sangsu Lee and Youngsik Jeoung fell in the quarters of the top half of the draw (Xu Xin over Lee and Harimoto over Jeoung). India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and China’s Wang Chuqin were the losers in the other two quarters (Gnanasekaran fell to Lin Gaoyuan, and Chuqin fell to Fan Zhendong). In one Semifinal, Xu Xin dominated Tomokazu Harimoto winning three straight (3-0: 4, 9, 9). The bottom half of the draw was a disappointment for Fan Zhendong as the World’s second ranked player lost in three straight to Lin Gaoyuan in the Semifinal. The all-Chinese final was a 3-1 win for Xu Xin.
Women’s Singles wasn’t just an all-Chinese final, it was all-Chinese semifinals. In fact, all five Chinese players who were entered also advanced to the Quarterfinals, and no Chinese player lost to a player from any other country. In the end, there were some upsets among the Chinese team with fourth seeded Liu Shiwen defeating the top seeded Chen Ment to advance to the Finals. And with the main story being Sun Yingsha (the fifth seed) upsetting Wang Manyu (3rd seed), Ding Ning (2nd seed), and Liu Shiwen (4th seed) on her way to claiming the title. Sun Yingsha was hardly challenged even among her elite teammates as she won her matches by a 3-0 score except for her 3-1 win over Ding Ning.
With this dominance in the Singles events, there are no surprises in the results of the Team and Doubles events. It was China over Korea 3-0 in Men’s Teams, China over Japan 3-0 in Women’s Teams, China’s Liang/Lin team won the all-China Final in Men’s Doubles, China’s Ding/Zhu team won the all-China Final in Women’s Doubles, and China’s Xu/Liu team won the all-China Final in Mixed Doubles. China’s domination of the Asian Championships was so pronounced, that the number of losses for China across all events can be counted on one finger. That sole loss was Liang Jingkun’s 3-2 loss to Korea’s Youngsik Jeoung in the Round of 16 in Men’s Singles. China won all team events 3-0, and with the exception of the Jiankun match referenced above, Chinese players won every Singles and Doubles match played against players from other countries. China truly dominated every aspect of the 2019 Asian Championships.
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