Ahmedabad, Sep 17 (IANS) Lin Gaoyuan and Zhu Yuling won the mens and womens singles titles, respectively, chalking up thrilling victories in all-Chinese finals at the 30th Asian Cup table tennis tournament here on Sunday.
Both Lin and Zhu clinched their maiden titles at the Asian Championships.
In the men’s singles final, Lin pulled off what was perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament against title favourite Fan Zhendong.
Placed 29th in the world rankings, he put his World No.2 opponent under pressure right from the start in a see-saw contest to win 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5.
Earlier, Zhu defeated compatriot Liu Shiwen in a hard fought women’s singles final to win her maiden continental title.
The Chinese paddlers regaled the sizeable crowd at the TransStadia arena with some top quality action before the World No.3 won 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-13, 11-6 in a thrilling contest which lasted for75 minutes.
Liu, placed at the fourth spot in the world rankings, was favourite going into this tournament. She had won the World Cup and Asian Cup four times each and the World Tour Grand Finals thrice.
She was in superb form throughout the tournament and had reached the final without losing a single game along the way.
In the men’s singles, Lee Sangsu of South Korea defeated Chen Chien-An of Chinese Taipei 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 12-10 in the play-off for the third spot.
The third place play-off among the women was won by Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan who defeated compatriot Miu Hirano 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8.
The top three paddlers in both categories qualified for the World Cup to be held next month.
Kasumi staged a superb comeback after losing the first couple of games to win three games on the trot and take a decisive advantage. Although Miu managed to win the sixth game to draw level at 3-3, it only delayed the inevitable.
The men’s singles title decider was an edge of the seat affair as the left-handed Lin played percentage game and matched his higher rated opponent stroke for stroke.
The 22-year-old, who was making his maiden appearance at the Asian Cup, drove well with fewer negative give-aways as compared to his rival, a former junior world champion.
The contest did not see too many long rallies as both paddlers preferred to go for the kill at the first opportunity.
Fan did try his best to level the game 2-2 but once Lin went 3-2 up, it was a mere formality for him to finish off in style.
The fast-paced women’s singles final was full of long rallies and was one of the finest in recent times.
The top-seeded Liu, with four Asian Cup titles to her credit, was in some discomfort despite beginning well. She won the opening game before losing the next two.
But she slowly clawed her way back with precise backhands and equally effective forehands to make it three games apiece. The fourth game win at 12-10 looked like giving her the confidence but the next one went Zhu’s way.
In the decider, Zhu held five match points and playing close to the table, she tackled everything that her opponent served up. A couple of negatives from Liu also helped her inch closer to victory.
In the end, it turned out be an anti-climax when the 22-year-old served for the Asian Cup title point as Liu’s return escaped the edge much to Zhu’s elation.
For the records, this was the sixth occasion when the second seed, who is world No.3, had beaten Liu in their 13 meetings so far. She also denied Liu’s her fifth continental crown.
Post Source: Ians feed