(by Steve Hopkins, photo ITTFWorld)
The highlights on Friday at the WTT Champions Macao event featured upsets by Szocs in Women’s Singles and Lebrun in Men’s Singles. Both upsets were over top Chinese players – and China’s other wins were tight. But as we moved further into the weekend, and through the Semifinals and Finals, Chinese players rose to the top and both Finals involved two Chinese players.
Top seeded Fan Zhendong swept Darko Jorgic 3-0 in their Quarterfinal matchup on Saturday. Lin Yun-Ju trailed twice against France’s Alexis Lebrun, but Lin advanced by winning the final two games. And late Saturday, Fan Zhendong took an early lead over Lin Yun-Ju and then held on for a 4-2 Semifinal win.
In the lower half of the draw, Truls Moregard topped Mattias Falck 3-1 to reach the Semis. The other Quarterfinal match-up saw Wang Chuqin upset Ma Long 3-2. Chuqin then dominated Truls Moregard Saturday evening with a 4-0 win to reach the Final.
In the Final, it went the distance but Chuqin never trailed. He won the first game, the third game, the fifth game, and then pulled out the win in the seventh. For World No. 11 Wang Chuqin, his path to the championship involved a win over No. 5 Calderano, then No. 10 Ovtcharov, then No. 2 Ma Long, then No. 6 Moregard, and then capping it all off with a win over World No. 1 Fan Zhendong. When was the last time someone had a run that included five upset wins (much less over World Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, and 10). Chuqin’s run may be the best ever for someone outside of the Top 10.
On the Women’s side, the top four women in the world were all present (all Chinese) and only one survived to the Semifinals. Romania’s Bernadette Szocs took out Chen Meng, another Chinese star Chen Xingtong defeated Wang Yidi, and France’s Jia Nan Yuan topped Wang Manyu. In the end, it was World No. 1 Sun Yingsha versus World No. 13 Chen Xingtong. Sun Yingsha struck early, winning the first two games, and cruised to a 4-1 win.
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