Men’s Doubles: 2011 Swedish Open, At the very first attempt, on the very first occasion they had joined forces; China’s Wang Liqin and Yan An won the Men’s Doubles title at the Swedish Open in Stockholm on Sunday 23rd October 2011, upsetting the seeding in the process. At the final hurdle they overcame the Hong Kong partnership of Jiang Tianyi and Tang Peng in seven games to arrest the title. Not seeded, Wang Liqin and Yan An recovered from a three games to one deficit to secure gold against the no.3 seeds; they won 13-11, 9-11, 8-11, 11-13, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3.
Fifteen Years Apart
The combination of two players from different generations proved irrepressible; there is a 15 year age gap, Wang Liqin is 33 years old, Yan An is only 18 years old. Success in Men’s Doubles events, or any other event for that matter, is nothing new for Wang Liqin; with Yan Sen, by winning at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and at consecutive World Championships in Osaka in 2001 and Paris in 2003, he has won the highest honours sport has to offer.
However, even though only 18 years old, when it comes to doubles, Yan An has already a quite notable record. At the Asian Junior Championships in Singapore in 2008 he won the Junior Boys’ Doubles title with Song Hongyuan and, in 2009, retained the title with Li Muqiao.
World Junior Championships
Meanwhile at the World Junior Championships he succeeded in 2007 in Palo Alto with Song Shichao and in 2008 in partnership with Song Hongyuan in Madrid. One year later in 2009 in Cartagena de Indias he also stood on the Boys’ Doubles medal podium; he won silver in harness with Lin Gaoyuan. It is an impressive record.
Defeat for Jiang Tianyi and Tang Peng, who were playing in their first final of the year on the ITTF Pro Tour but, for the pair who won the Men’s Doubles title at the KAL Cup Pro Tour Grand Finals in Seoul in December 2010, there is consolation. They can expect an invitation to the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals in London in December.
Four tournaments as a partnership is the minimum requirement.
Taking into account those pairings that will have met the criteria when the Swedish Open concludes, they will be in sixth place; the top eight, which must include a pairing from the host nation, England, is invited.
Silver Medal Provided Passport
Prior to the start of the Swedish Open, of those who had met the requirements, the Hong Kong pair stood in 14th place; the runners up spot in Stockholm has unlocked a door, the door to the defence of their title.
China’s Guo Yan and Guo Yue justified their top seeded position in the draw, to win the Women’s Singles title at the Swedish Open in Stockholm, beating the second seeded Japanese duo of Hiroko Fujii and Misako Wakamiya at the final hurdle on the afternoon of Sunday 23rd October 2011. The Chinese duo succeeded in five games (11-7, 11-9, 11-4, 14-16, 11-4) and in so doing won their fifth ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Doubles title as a pairing and their third in 2011.
In 2005 and 2007 at the Panasonic China Open, they combined to secure the top prize; whilst earlier this year they won at the English Open in Sheffield and at the Harmony China Open in Suzhou.
Incredible Title Haul
A most worthy record and for Guo Yue a quite amazing record; on every occasion that she has played on the ITTF Pro Tour in 2011, she has won the Women’s Doubles title.
It is now nine appearances, nine wins!
Victories in 2011
In addition to her now three successes with Guo Yan, she won with Li Xiaoxia in Slovenia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Germany; whilst with Liu Shiwen she succeeded in Shenzhen at the Volkswagen China Open and with Li Xiaodan at the Polish Open.
Unquestionably the partnership of Guo Yue and Li Xiaoxia is the best Women’s Doubles partnership in the world. They won the Women’s Doubles title at the H.I.S World Championships in Yokohama in 2009 and retained the title earlier this year in Rotterdam at the GAC GROUP 2011 World Championships.
Only Two Defeats
Furthermore in what is now a period of three years; Guo Yue has lost only two Women’s Doubles matches in what is now 23 ITTF Pro Tour appearances! Partnering Li Xiaoxia, the pair lost to Wang Nan and Zhang Yining at the semi-final stage in Kuwait in 2008 and later in the same year in Shanghai in the final at the Panasonic China Open, when beaten by Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana.
Guo Yue was scheduled to partner Guo Yan at the 2010 Qatar Open but the duo never actually participated.
Fourth Appearance of the Year
Meanwhile for Hiroko Fujii and Misako Wakamiya, it was their fourth appearance in an ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Doubles final and their fourth in 2011. At the KRA Korean Open and on home soil at the Japan Open, they emerged as champions, in Poland they were runners up beaten by Guo Yue and Li Xiaodan.
Once again in Sweden, Guo Yue proved their nemesis, as had been the case on the one other occasion than the pairs had met. The only previous meeting in international competition was in February 2010 at the Salwa Cup Kuwait Open; on that occasion in the first round of the Women’s Doubles event, Guo Yan and Guo Yue won in five games.
In Stockholm, some 16 months later the Chinese duo repeated the dose; only this time in the final. —- ITTF Press Release
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