Volkswagen 2005 World Championships: Success in Athens, same again in Shanghai
Gold the previous year at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, staged in Shanghai from Saturday 30th April to Friday 6th May, China’s Zhang Yining gave a repeat performance at the Volkswagen 48th World Championships.
She partnered Wang Nan to the women’s doubles top prize before donning the women’s singles crown.
The win confirmed the fact that whatever rankings may have suggested, Zhang Yining had succeeded Wang Nan as the leading female player of the day.
At the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Wang Nan had experienced a shock women’s singles quarter-final defeat at the hands of Singapore’s Li Jia Wei; in Shanghai the upset was even greater. She was beaten in round three by Korea Republic’s Moon Hyunjung, a player competing in her first ever World Championships and the last of a dying breed. She was a right handed pen-holder, using one side of the racket only, her forehand devastating.
Thus the six year reign that had started in Eindhoven in 1999 came to an end.
Conversely, Zhang Yining was never in serious danger, she secured the title without ever being extended the full seven games distance.
Safely through to the fourth round, a familiar foe was waiting, she confronted DPR Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi; the player she had beaten in the Athens final the previous year. In the Greek capital city she had emerged successful in four straight games (11-8, 11-7, 11-2, 11-2); in the Chinese metropolis it was no different, Zhang Yining was in no mood for charity (11-4, 11-4, 11-7, 11-5).
Impressive, it was exactly the same in the quarter-final contest against Viktoria Pavlovich of Belarus; the stalwart defensive skills of the young lady from Belarus, posed no problems (11-5, 11-2, 11-4, 11-2).
Comprehensive wins, as Zhang Yining progressed with relentless efficiency towards the final, life became only marginally more exacting. At the semi-final stage she beat Hong Kong’s Lin Ling (10-12, 11-4, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7), prior to reserving the top step of the podium at the final expense of colleague Guo Yan (4-11, 11-7, 11-7, 4-11, 11-8, 13-11).
Success, in the women’s doubles, accounting for Hong Kong’s Tie Yana and Zhang Rui (11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 11-13, 11-6), the pair secured the title at the final expense of Guo Yue and Niu Jianfeng (11-4, 11-5, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5).
Thus Athens 2004 was repeated. The previous year Wang Nan and Zhang Yining had claimed gold at the final expense of Korea Republic’s Lee Eunsil and Seok Eunmi (11-9, 11-7, 11-6, 11-6).
In Shanghai, Zhang Yining joined the club of legends.