Women's Team Final-2018 ITTF Team World Cup
2018 ITTF Team World Cup
London: Sunday 25th February
China wins women’s team title
A full house, members of London’s Chinese community and beyond the boundaries of the famous city were present in force on the morning of Sunday 25th February in the Copper Box Arena for the final of the 2018 ITTF World Team Cup; they came to pay homage to a trio of young ladies who back home are major super stars of sport.
Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Zhu Yuling under the tutelage of Li Sun, the national coach did not disappoint.
World champions, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen gave China the ideal start by beating Hina Hayata and Mima Ito, the recently crowned Japanese national champions in four games (11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8).
Time and again we have seen Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen steamroller opponents; that was not the situation when facing Hina Hayata and Mima. In the first game, the Japanese duo led 6-5 and could not force home the advantage; in the third they were dominant whilst in the fourth after surrendering two game points, discretion the better part of valour, at 10-6, Li Sun called “Time Out”. The crowd animated, Hina Hayata and Mima Ito saved one further match point but could not make it four in a row. It was advantage China.
A good start, immediately Zhu Yuling, the model of consistency doubled the lead by beating Kasumi Ishikawa in three straight games (11-5, 11-7, 11-7) a contest in which the control exerted was the telling factor and also she entered the fray with two major advantages against her name. The team was leading and in eight previous international meetings, she had won seven times.
China two matches to nil ahead, return to the arena Ding Ning and Mima Ito, the latter very much a player in form having in January won the Women’s Singles title at the Japanese National Championships; however, she faced the player who has won everything.
Furthermore, Ding Ning was well aware that there was no room for complacency; it was a determined Olympic and World champion who entered the arena. The first game captured, the second proved crucial, matters being level at 8-all, before Ding Ning won three of the next four points.
A brave effort from Mima Ito, one had to admire the fighting spirit; however, Ding Ning, as in the previous games was able to withstand the barrage of Mima Ito’s fast close to the table attacking play. The third game was secured, victory for Ding Ning (11-7, 11-9, 11-8), the title won on ten of the eleventh previous editions of the tournament retained.
Success for China and success for three players who maintained their unbeaten record in the competition; in fact the last time that China lost a match in the Women’s event at the ITTF Team World Cup was in 1994 in Nîmes when the trio comprising Wang Chen, Wu Na and Zhang Ling experienced defeat at the hands of Germany’s Elke Schall, Jie Schöpp and Nicole Struse.
Prior to the start of play in the Copper Box arena, Ding Ning was the most successful female player of all time; that recorded is now extended. It was her sixth time as a member of the winning team, her fourth appearance in the final; as for Liu Shiwen it was her fifth venture but only the second time she had been on duty in the title decider.
Like Zhu Yuling, for whom it was her second appearance, she had played in the 2015 in Dubai.