Marvellous 2020 Review: Fan Repeats, Qihao and Yuling Surprise
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Marvellous 2020 Review: Fan Repeats, Qihao and Yuling Surprise

Marvellous 2020 Review: Fan Repeats, Qihao and Yuling Surprise

Marvellous 2020 Review: Fan Repeats, Qihao and Yuling Surprise

(By Steve Hopkins / Photo: Brian Yuxiang)

Each year, China’s Marvellous 12 brings the top Chinese players together for an invitational where the first prize is an automatic invite to the World Championships. Six of the Marvellous 12 are players seeded based upon World Rankings.  The other six players play their way in through a qualification event.  The result, despite being all Chinese players, is one of the strongest fields of any tournament of the year.

A year ago, Fan Zhendong dominated 2019 version of this event – winning every match and setting himself up for a successful year.  The next slots were much more interesting, with Liang Jingkun surprising by finishing in second and Xue Fei with an even bigger surprise in finishing in third.

The New Year has started very much like how 2019 started.  Fan Zhendong dominated his countrymen to finish first and the results are somewhat surprising thereafter.  Despite filling this tournament with the top 4 ranked players in the world (5 of the top 9), it is a relative unknown who has finished second.  Zhou Qihao, World No. 94, defeated both Xu Xin and Ma Long before finally falling to Fan Zhendong on the final day.

Fan Zhendong is obviously the big winner – he is the World’s No. 1 player, he has asserted dominance in a very tough field that included the world’s other top 4 ranked players, and he has won the automatic spot on China’s team in an Olympic year.  But the biggest story, the most “Marvellous” story is Qihao – a 27-year-old player who was a highly acclaimed junior, but who has only recently shown positive international results.  At one point last year, his ranking was all the way up to No. 34, but he ended the year at No. 94.  Perhaps he will build on this success and use the Marvellous 12 as a launching pad for a great year (much the same way that Liang Jingkun did just a year ago).

Key Results:

Fan Zhendong over Zhang Yudong 11-7, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5
Zhou Qihao over Zhao Zihao 8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 15-13, 11-6
Lin Gaoyuan over Ma Te 11-9, 11-8, 11-7, 13-11
Ma Long over Xue Fei 12-10, 13-15, 7-11, 11-3, 11-9, 11-8
Liang Jingkun over Zhou Kai 11-7, 11-4, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5
Xu Xin over Xu Chenhao 11-7, 10-12, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5

Fan Zhendong over Lin Gaoyuan 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 11-2

Zhou Qihao over Ma Long 11-7, 7-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9, 2-11, 11-6

Xu Xin over Liang Jingkun 7-11, 11-13, 11-6, 11-4, 10-12, 11-8, 13-11

FINAL THREE:

Zhou Qihao over Xu Xin 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9
Fan Zhendong over Zhou Qihao 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 3-11, 11-8
Fan Zhendong over Xu Xin 11-9, 9-11, 8-11, 18-16, 11-7, 11-5

The women’s event had a few more surprises, as it was Zhu Yuling (the event’s fifth seed) that topped the field.  In the final elimination round, Zhu Yuling defeated World No. 1 Chen Meng 4-2 and World No. 2 Sun Yingsha 4-2.  Add in the win over Ding Ning in the second round, and this tournament may have been the best of the 24 year old Zhu Yuling’s career.

Key Results:

Chen Xingtong over He Zhuoija 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7, 11-9
Sun Yingsha over Gu Yuting 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 13-11
Ding Ning over Zhang Rui 11-8, 11-4, 11-9, 11-7
Zhu Yuling over Qian Tianyi 11-4, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8
Chen Meng over Liu Fei 11-9, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 11-1
Wang Manyu over Wang Yidi 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-5

Zhu Yuling over Ding Ning 11-6, 11-9, 11-1, 8-11, 7-11, 9-11, 11-7

Sun Yingsha over Wang Manyu 11-9, 3-11, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9

Chen Meng over Chen Xingtong 3-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11, 11-6

Zhu Yuling over Chen Meng 11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9
Zhu Yuling over Sun Yingsha 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-5

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