2019 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open
Monday 7th October
Wang Chuqin outstanding in Stockholm
Winner one year ago of the men’s singles title at the Buenos Aires 2019 Youth Olympic Games; China’s Wang Chuqin gave one of the most remarkable performances of the year to win the men’s singles title at the 2019 ITTF World Tour Swedish Open in Stockholm on the late afternoon of Sunday 6th October.
Required to qualify, en route to capturing his career first ITTF World Tour men’s singles title, he surrender just two games; those being against the host nation’s Kristian Karlsson in the opening round (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 11-4).
Otherwise there was not a morsel of charity on offer. Safely through the qualification rounds without blemish; following the win against Kristian Karlsson, the no.16 seed, he accounted for Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto, the no.4 seed (11-5, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4), prior to ending the aspirations of colleagues. He beat Zhao Zihao (11-6, 11-6, 11-7, 11-5), Liang Jingkun, the no.5 seed (11-5, 11-5, 19-17, 11-9) and then maintained the form to overcome Lin Gaoyuan, the no.3 seed, in the final (6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6).
Notably, Liang Jingkun was in form; he had accounted for Chinese Taipe’s Chuang Chih-Yuan (8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-3), ensued by success in opposition to colleague Zhou Qihao, bronze medallist one year earlier (11-3, 6-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 13-11) and Xu Xin, the top seed (11-6, 11-8, 11-7, 8-11, 8-11, 11-9).
Runners up spot for Lin Gaoyuan, the same as two weeks earlier in Yogyakarta at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships; however, he could depart Stockholm with the solace that once again he had beated compatriot Fan Zhendong. At the semi-final stage in Yogyakarta he won in straight games (11-7, 11-6, 11-3); in Sweden’s capital city, it was more testing, in the same round he required six games (6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6).
Notably, earlier he had ended European hopes. He beat Frenchman, Enzo Angles (11-7, 11-5, 11-7, 11-4), followed by success against the German duo of Patrick Franziska, the no.11 seed (11-4, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-5) and Dimtrij Ovtcharov, the no.8 seed (4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 8-11, 11-2, 11-13, 11-4).
Outstanding from Wang Chuqin, it was equally outstanding from Japan’s Mima Ito. She came within a whisker of repeating the feat of one year ago when at the latter stages she had beaten the Chinese trio of Liu Shiwen, Ding Ning and Zhu Yuling to arrest the title. One year later at the quarter-final stage, the no.7 seed, she beat Wang Manyu, the no.4 seed (11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-4), before in the penultimate round ousting Sun Yingsha, the no.6 seed and recently crowned Asian champion (8-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3).
In the final she established a three games to one lead against Chen Meng; the top seed, the player listed in top spot on the world rankings responded, she recovered to record a seven games success (8-11, 11-6, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
Earlier, in the later rounds, Chen Meng had reversed the decision of the Liebherr 2019 World Championships final earlier in the year by beating colleague Liu Shiwen, the no.5 seed (11-7, 10-12, 4-11, 11-8, 11-5, 18-16), prior to ending the progress of qualifier, also from China, Liu Fei (11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-7).
Success for Chen Meng, on the penultimate day of action she had also enjoyed success; partnering Ding Ning, the pair secured the women’s doubles title at the expense of Japan’s Miu Hirano and Kasumi Ishikawa (5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-5).
Two titles for Chen Meng, it was the same for Xu Xin; on the last but one day of play he had partnered Liu Shiwen to mixed doubles gold, Fan Zhendong to the men’s doubles top prize. At the final hurdle of the former, the duo beat Japan’s Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito (8-11, 11-8, 13-11, 3-11, 11-8); in the latter, Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan (10-12, 11-1, 11-9, 11-13, 11-5), thus reversing the decision if two weeks earlier at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships.
Proceedings concluded in Stockholm, attention now turns to Bremen, following two days of qualification, the 2019 ITTF World Tour German Open commences on Thursday 10th October.
Editor: Ian Marshall