Pattaya, Oct 3, 2015: 18 year old FAN Zhendong is the king of Asian table tennis, winning every possible title on offer at the Suzuki 2015 Asian Table Tennis Championships, which concluded today in Pattaya, Thailand.
The 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion beat world number two XU Xin in an epic men’s singles final to add to his men’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s team gold medals that he won earlier in the event.
FAN looked to be cruising to his fourth Asian title, as he jumped to a 3-0 lead against his close friend XU. XU responded with some breathtaking shots to level the match at 3-3, before FAN proved to be too strong, clinching the title 12-10, 11-2, 12-10,7-11, 9-11, 11-13, 11-9 in front of the capacity crowd.
After becoming only the second man ever to complete the gold medal sweep at the Asian Championships, after his team mate MA Long, FAN stated: “Playing in 4 events has been a great challenge for myself, it has been tiring, but also very rewarding!”
“Of course I’m very excited to win 4 medals here at the Asian Championships, especially in the men’s singles! I have lost to XU Xin several times after playing full 7-games matches in international tournaments, so I had a lot of desire to win this match against him.”
“It was a difficult match, even though I was well prepared and was able to carry out my strategies. I had the chance to end the match in the fourth, fifth and even sixth game, because I was leading, but I guess I became more reserved when I was close to winning, and that caused me those three games.”
The Women’s Singles final was as dramatic as they come. CHEN Meng was started to mount a comeback against ZHU Yuling, who led 2-1, until injury stuck the 2011 Junior World Champion.
CHEN collapsed to the ground grasping her upper leg in agony and was unable to continue the match, which made ZHU Yuling the 2015 Asian Champion! The 21 year old needed to be stretchered off the court and taken to hospital, which also ruled out of the women’s doubles semi final the following day.
“When I was leading 3-1 in the fourth game, she suddenly couldn’t stand properly when trying to get the ball back, I didn’t know what happened”, said ZHU Yuling. “Initially I thought it was a muscle strain but she just squatted there and couldn’t get up. When I went over to her, she told me she pulled her muscle on her upper leg, it was numb and she couldn’t even move or stand up”, added the newly crowned champion.
The finalists from the men’s singles final, XU Xin and FAN Zhendong joined forces to win the men’s doubles crown, defeating the Korean duo of JUNG Youngsik &LEE Sangsu 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7, 11-7.
DPR Korea won only their third ever Asian Championships gold medal, as KIM Hye Song & RI Mi Gyong become the women’s doubles champions. The DPR Korea pair defeated the dynamic 14 year old duo of Miu HIRANO & Mima ITO 11-3, 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 to win an emotional title.
CHEN Meng will be heading back to China on crutches, but also with the mixed doubles gold medal, which she won with the man of the tournament FAN Zhendong. The Chinese pair were too good for Singapore’s YANG Zi & YU Mengyu, winning the final 11-8, 11-3, 11-5, 11-9. —- ITTF
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