Lui Shiwen Wins in Tokyo, Third Runners Up Spot for Ding Ning
Runner up in Kuwait earlier in the year in March when beaten by colleague, Li Xiaoxia, the same fate the following week in Qatar when losing to a second compatriot in the guise of Liu Shiwen; in Tokyo on Sunday June 19th at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Laox Japan Open, it was the same fate for Ding Ning, the reigning World champion.
Once again, Liu Shiwen proved to be her nemesis.
Occupying the top seeded position in the competition, Liu Shiwen accounted for Ding Ning, the no.2 seed, in six games (17-19, 11-7, 11-6, 8-11, 12-10, 11-7).
“I am very happy to be the champion, it is always tough to defeat Ding Ning, so every time I am able to so I am very proud”, said Liu Shiwen. “Every time I play in Japan the atmosphere is very good for us; l the players appreciate all the support in Japan.”
Successful in Tokyo, everyone ese, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is very much at the forefront of the mind.
Looking Forward to Playing Japan
“In Rio, I am not playing in the singles event but I will do my best to contribute in the team event and help China win the gold medal”, added Liu Shiwen. “I am looking forward to playing against the Japanese team in Rio, we have played many times; the three Japanese players are very high level, each of them is different, we will formulate a plan for all of them.”
In Rio de Janeiro, Japan will be represented by Kasumi Ishikawa, Ai Fukuhara and Mima Ito in the Women’s Team event.
“Ding Ning and I always encourage and cheer up each other”, continued Liu Shiwen. “We started table tennis when we were small, we learn from each other, we are very good friends and very good rivals; when the time comes to retire we will miss each other!”
Pleased with Performance
A positive response from Liu Shiwen; it was very much the same from Ding Ning.
“Overall I played well here in Japan, the final was a fantastic match, I am glad we put on a good show for all the Japanese fans”, said Ding Ning. “Hopefully next week in Korea I can reverse the result and become the champion.”
Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning have now met on no less than 21 occasions on the international scene; the advantage is notably in favor of Liu Shiwen, she had won 14 of the contests.
However, in what could be argued to be their most important meetings of all, the verdict has gone the way of Ding Ning; results that were to eventually result in the top step of the podium being secured and a supreme accolade gained.
Rotterdam and Suzhou
Ding Ning beat Liu Shiwen at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC Group 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam before overcoming colleague Li Xiaoxia to arrest the title.
More recently, at the Qoros 2015 World Championships, in a memorable contest, Ding Ning after suffering an ankle injury early in the seventh game in the final in Suzhou eventual overcame Liu Shiwen to regain her title.
ITTF World Tour
Conversely, on the ITTF World Tour Liu Shiwen has now won 10 of their 15 meetings plus two wins at the Grand Finals.
She beat Ding Ning in London in 2011 and at the 2013 Grand Finals staged in Dubai in January 2014.
It was for Liu Shiwen her 26th appearance in an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final, her 14th success; for Ding Ning in her 23rd such contest it was her 13th defeat.
Notably it was the 148th time the China has provided the Women’s Singles winner on the ITTF World Tour, the 110th time the final has been an all Chinese contest.