Suzhou Decision Reversed, Liu Shiwen Wins for Second Time in Doha
Courtesy of ITTF
Beaten in a dramatic final at the Qoros 2015 World Championships in Suzhou just under one year ago, Liu Shiwen reversed the decision at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Qatar Open in Doha on the late afternoon of Sunday March 27th.
The top seed, she accounted for Chinese National Team colleague, Ding Ning, the no.2 seed, in the title deciding contest; a five game outcome was the end result (11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9).
“I think the match itself wasn’t as exciting as we had hoped it would be, probably because this is the second consecutive World Tour event, so we were a little exhausted”, said Liu Shiwen, who had proved the model of consistency, her movement and balance an example to all.
She may not be the most powerful female player who ever graced the courts of the word but I doubt anyone has been better at keeping the ball on the table, gradually forcing an error from an opponent, or creating an opportunity to win the point.
Major Test Awaits
Titles to her credit by the score, she has never lost a match in the Women’s World Cup; she has won the ITTF World Grand Finals and she has been the runner up in the Women’s Singles event at the World Championships on the two most recent occasions.
However, does the biggest test of her character await in the next few months?
“We are in a crucial period of time where our internal competition is very intense to qualify for Rio”, added Liu Shiwen. “This win definitely helps in boosting my confidence.”
The avowed aim is to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; since table tennis first appeared on the agenda in 1988 in Seoul, the quadrennial gathering has grown to be the pinnacle for table tennis.
Looking ahead but looking back, Liu Shiwen can reflect on her performance in Doha with pride; it is a city where in the past she has enjoyed success in previous years.
It was the fourth time that she had reached the Women’s Singles final at an ITTF World Tour tournament in Qatar and the third time she had faced Ding Ning in the final.
In 2010 she made her first appearance in the title deciding match in Doha; she was beaten in the final by her colleague, Guo Yue; in 2011 and 2013 she faced Ding Ning in the final on both occasions, in the former year she won, in the latter it was defeat.
Overall Liu Shiwen has now appeared in 22 ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles finals; she has won ten times; for Ding Ning, the record also reads ten wins. She has now competed in 20 finals.
Men’s Singles Final
Ma Long (CHN) def. FAN Zhendong (CHN) 4-1 (11-9,11-9,5-11,13-11,11-5)
Women’s Singles Final
Liu Shiwen (CHN) def. DING Ning (CHN) 4-1 (11-8,9-11,11-8,11-9,11-9)
Men’s Doubles Final
FAN Zhendong (CHN) / ZHANG Jike (CHN) def. NIWA Koki (JPN) / YOSHIMURA Maharu (JPN) 3-0 (11-8,11-9,11-7)
Women’s Doubles Final
DING Ning (CHN) / LIU Shiwen (CHN) def. FUKUHARA Ai (JPN) / ITO Mima (JPN) 3-2 (6-11,11-9,11-6,4-11,11-7)
Visit ITTF’s 2016 Qatar Open competition page for full coverage.