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Guo Yue wins women's singles gold

Updated: 2007-05-26 19:40
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Guo Yue wins women's singles gold
Yue Guo of China returns a backhand against compatriot Yining Zhang during their women's singles semi finals match at the World Table Tennis Championships in Zagreb May 26, 2007. [Reuters]

Guo Yue wins women's singles gold

ZAGREB - Guo Yue won the women's singles gold medal at the world table tennis championships on Saturday after beating fellow Chinese Li Xiaoxia by four sets to three in the final.

World number four Guo staged a spirited comeback from three sets to one down to claim her first world championship title after she had dislodged 2006 winner and top seed Zhang Yining in the semi-finals earlier in the day.

The final produced a thrilling battle of Chinese teenagers in which the 19-year-old Guo recovered from a slow start to beat 18-year-old Li 8-11 11-7 4-11 2-11 11-5 11-2 11-8.

Li had also made an upset in the semi-finals, defeating world number three compatriot Guo Yan to finish on the podium in her first world championship at senior level.

In earlier matches, Guo Yue brushed aside defending champion and top seed Zhang Yining in straight sets, while 19-year-old Li Xiaoxia stormed past Guo Yan 11-7 5-11 11-5 11-5 11-5 to set up a showdown against her 18-year-old rival later in the day.

World number four Guo Yue unsettled Zhang from the start with a series of stunning serves and piercing forehands that forced her opponent away from the table.

There was a glimmer of hope for Zhang in a tight third set, but Guo Yue used her nimble footwork to stay in control and take the match 11-8 11-7 11-9 11-4.

Li Xiaoxia took charge of her match midway through the third set when she scored six points in a row to take a 2-1 lead before finishing off the contest in emphatic style.

World number three Guo Yan appeared unsettled after being sanctioned three times for an illegal serve and was also unable to find an answer to her opponent's backhand.