Table Tennis News & Videos
LIU Shiwen (CHN)
Photo Courtesy of Butterfly.tt
Courtesy of ITTF
The top seed and favorite for gold, the host nation’s Liu Shiwen won the Volkswagen Women’s World Cup in Huangshi on Sunday September 23, 2012 and thus regained the title she had won in Guangzhou three years earlier, when beating Chinese National Team compatriot, Guo Yue, in a memorable final.
In 2009, the final was as predicted; three years later it was not; playing in her first ever Women’s World Cup and named originally as a reserve, the adversary was Romania’s Elizabeta Samara who had stunned everyone to reach the gold medal contest.
Alas, for Romania it was not a Hollywood movie; Liu Shiwen underlined the reasons why she occupied the no.1 seeded place by posting an impressive win.
The contest in Huangshi was the first occasion that Liu Shiwen and Elizabeta Samara had ever met but the odds were heavily in favor of the Chinese star.
She was playing on home soil and stands at no.3 on the Women’s World Rankings as opposed to the Romanian visitor who is at no.38.
Certainly, Liu Shiwen was the clear favorite and after a slow start when Elizabeta Samara won the first three points of the first game, Liu Shiwen was in control.
Very much she is becoming the complete player; she adapted, found a rhythm and played with what is now her renowned consistency.
Elizabeta Samara fought bravely but Liu Shiwen held the aces; she won in four straight games (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-3).
A straight games success for Liu Shiwen but for bronze medalist, Spain’s Shen Yanfei, it was very different.
World Ranking Favored Feng Tianwei
World Ranking favored Feng Tianwei; she currently occupies the no.7 spot on the Women’s list as opposed to Shen Yanfei who is at a career high no.14.
However, history suggested a close contest and so it proved to be: Shen Yanfei beat Feng Tianwei by the narrowest of margins in the deciding game (11-5, 5-11, 2-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9).
Feng Tianwei and Shen Yanfei had met on five previous occasions at World Ranking events.
The first two meetings, in 2008 at the Singapore Open and in 2010 at the World Team Cup had been won by Feng Tianwei.
Three Wins for Shen Yanfei
Two wins for Feng Tianwei, then three for Shen Yanfei.
She won in 2010 in the final of the KRA Korean Open, then in the same year at the Harmony China Open before earlier this year succeeding at the quarterfinal stage of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Spanish Open.
Notably, all three wins recorded by Shen Yanfei had been in seven games; a close match was anticipated.
Close Contest Ensued
A close contest anticipated, a close contest, the full seven games resulted.
Shen Yanfei captured the first game but then Feng Tianwei responded to take the next three. In the vital fifth game Shen Yanfei established lead but the arrears were reduced to 8-7 in her favor.
Crucial Time Out
She elected for “Time Out”; it proved a shrewd move; she surrendered just one more point in the game to reduce the games deficit to one.
Boosted by the success the Spaniard won the sixth game and in the seventh led 5-3 when the players changed ends. Feng Tianwei called “Time Out”; she recovered and at 9-all it was parity.
Victory for Spain
Alas for Singapore she did not win another point; serving Shen Yanfei won the next two points; for the fourth time in succession Shen Yanfei had beaten Feng Tianwei in seven games.
The bronze medal was in Spanish hands.