ITTF World Tour Korea Open
Sunday 26th June
Xu Xin Repeats Success, Korean Title Secured
Success against Ma Long one week earlier at the semi-final stage in Tokyo; Xu Xin repeated the feat at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon on Sunday 26th June, only this time it was in the final, not in the penultimate round.
In the Japanese capital city, runners up spot had been his lot, beaten by colleague Fan Zhendong; in Incheon it was the top step of the podium but there were some anxious moments as the final moments of the title deciding contest were enacted.
Thoughts of Kuwait
The contest went the full distance, in the decider Xu Xin led 10-5; one wondered if there was to be a reversal of fortunes, as Ma Long clawed his way back.
Earlier in the year in Kuwait, at the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Singles event, Xu Xin had trailed Jun Mizutani 4-10 in the decisive seventh game. Xu Xin won the next eight points to steal the contest.
Could Ma Long do the same? He came very close, he won the next four points but could not level matters, Xu Xin remained steadfast to secure victory (11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 12-10, 7-11, 6-11, 11-9).
<font color="800000"><b>Shoulder Problems</font></b>
“It is always special to beat Ma Long; it gives me lots of confidence that I could do it twice in a row”, said Xu Xin. “I am now a bit nervous, as I hurt my shoulder during the match, I hope it is not too severe and I will be at full strength in Rio, where I will play the team event.”
At the end of the sixth game the physiotherapist had to be summoned to assist Xu Xin; the top of the left arm, his playing arm, was the subject on the magic spray. Later in the seventh game when leading 8-5 Xu Xin called “Time Out”; once again the spray was administered.”
Success for Xu Xin, in now 19 ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles finals, Xu Xin has now won 11 times; for Ma Long in what is now 33 such appearances he has finished in runners up spot on 11 occasions.
Thus in terms of successes with the number of wins remaining at 22 victories, Ma Long is still four short of the most successful of all, Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus who has 26 such titles to his credit.
<font color="800000"><b>Initial Success</font></b>
It was the 137th time that an ITTF World Tour Men’s Singles title has been won by a player from the People’s Republic of China; additionally it was the 90th time the event has witnessed an all-Chinese final.
Ding Ning Extracts Revenge
The runner up earlier this year in Kuwait, Qatar and one week ago in Japan; at the fourth time of asking it was the top prize for Ding Ning, the reigning World champion.
On the late afternoon of Sunday 26th May, she won the Women’s Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon.
The no.2 seed, she accounted for Liu Shiwen, the top seed, in five games (11-9, 11-13, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6) and thus gained revenge for the defeats she had suffered at the hands of her compatriot in Qatar and in Japan; in Kuwait Li Xiaoxia, also from China, had been her nemesis.
Overall it is the 24th time that Liu Shiwen has appeared in an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final and the 12th time she has won.
Notably it was the 149th time the China has provided the Women’s Singles winner on the ITTF World Tour, the 111th time the final has been an all Chinese contest.
Xu Xin and Zhang Jike Capture Men’s Doubles Title
Top seeds, China’s Xu Xin and Zhang Jike, justified their exalted status to win the Men’s Doubles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon on Sunday 26th June.
At the final hurdle they accounted for the host nation’s Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu (12-10, 12-10, 11-8); a pair who despite defeat arguably gave their best performance of the year and enhanced their chances of an invitation to the Grand Finals to be staged later this year in Qatar.
right handed player, the left handed pen-hold skills of Xu Xin provide the perfect foil; in Incheon Zhang Jike was the beneficiary and just as Jeoung Youngsik and Lee Sangsu have stumbled in 2016, there have been no pitfalls for the reigning World champions.
On their one previous appearance this year as a pairing they won in Kuwait.
Successful again but it is only their third such ITTF World Tour crown; the other was in 2011 when they won in England.
Is the 117th time that a Chinese pair has stood tall on the top step of the podium in an ITTF World Tour Men’s Doubles event.
Success for Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen
Winner at the 2009 Grand Finals staged in Macau when beating Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana in the final, China’s Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen won the Women’s Doubles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour Korea Open in Incheon on the afternoon of Sunday 26th June.
The no.2 seeds, they accounted for the host nation’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun in the final.
They recorded a straight games success (11-9, 11-7, 11-4) against the top seeds and the most successful partnership of the year
<font color="800000"><b>Daunting Duo</font></b>
It is difficult to think of a more daunting duo and so it proved in Incheon; victory over Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun meant they captured their tenth career ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles title as a partnership in 14 final.
Additionally, it was their third of the year. Three months ago in March they won in Kuwait and Qatar.
Meanwhile, four Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun in what is now eleven ITTF World Tour Women’s Doubles finals; it was the fourth time they had finished as runners up.
Success for Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen, it was the 124th time that a Chinese pairing had stood tall on the Women’s Doubles podium at an ITTF World Tour tournament.