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China's Fan, Wang take men's and women's singles titles at table tennis worlds

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-11-30 09:36
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Fan Zhendong returns a shot against Truls Moregard of Sweden during the men's singles finals match of the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships at George R. Brown Convention Center on Nov 29, 2021 in Houston, Texas. [Photo/Agencies]

HOUSTON - World number one Fan Zhendong of China defeated Swede Truls Moregard 4-0 to take the men's singles title while Wang Manyu was crowned as the women's singles world champion at the World Table Tennis Championships here on Monday.

Fan lived up to his billing as the world's best player as he ended the dream run of Moregard with a straight-game 4-0 victory (11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-8).

"I'm really happy. I was really feeling nervous before the match because I wanted to win the honor for my team and country. With this latest win, I'll be looking ahead with more confidence as I continue to develop my career," said Fan.

Fan, 24, is famed for his excellent technique and explosiveness. He achieved the top spot in the world rankings after holding position No 2 for 29 consecutive months, starting from November 2015.

"It's disappointing to lose, but I'm happy to have reached the final. Fan is the world's number one for a reason and it's a tough match. I'm just looking forward to going home and celebrating my silver medal with my friends and family," said Moregard.

The 19-year-old Swede has underlined his growing credentials with sterling performances all week, stunning his more illustrious opponents, including Timo Boll, Ahmed Saleh, Chuang Chih-Yuan, Patrick Franziska, Lim Jonghoon and Quadri Aruna.

Wang Manyu in action against Sun Yingsha during the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, USA, Nov 29, 2021. [Photo/IC]

On the women's part, world No 4 Wang Manyu beat compatriot and world No 2 Sun Yingsha 4-2 (11-13, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6, 11-8, 17-15) in a nail-biting match.

Sun seized the early initiative by winning the first game 13-11, taking control of the opening contest with her compact strokes, speed and aggression. Wang has however leveled the score 1-1 after winning the second game 11-7.

The advantage swung back to Sun who takes a 2-1 lead after winning the third game 11-6. Then, the match was evenly poised at 2-2 with Wang dominating and winning the fourth game 11-6.

Wang led 3-2 after winning the fifth game 11-8. After saving six game points in the sixth game, Wang finally took down Sun 17-15 in the compelling spectacle.

"I'm really excited right now. I don't think there are any losers tonight. Yingsha and I are very good friends, and we inspire each other to give our best. I would like to thank Yingsha for putting up a good fight and also all the fans who have been supporting us," said Wang.

"Despite this defeat, I'm pleased I'm able to reach the final. Congratulations to Wang who deserves this victory. We are very familiar with each other, but I made several mistakes during this match and she played better than me today. I'm grateful for all the support I've received and will continue to work hard," said Sun.

Wang Manyu reacts after a point against Sun Yingsha during the women's singles finals match of the 2021 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships at George R. Brown Convention Center on Nov 29, 2021 in Houston, Texas. [Photo/Agencies]

Earlier in the day, Wang and Sun combined to retain the women's doubles title with a straight-game victory over Japanese combination Mima Ito/Hina Hayata 3-0 (11-9, 11-7, 11-8).

Hayata and Ito called an important timeout in the third game, overturning a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead. But it's not enough as Wang and Sun closed out the match in style.

"We are very excited to win this title. Mima and Hina have very quick, smooth connections and they are strong opponents. But, we have developed a lot ourselves and I think the key to winning this match was because of our bond and understanding of each other," said Sun.

"We prepared for every difficulty that we could have met in this match. We tried to just play our way in the match. Thank you to all the fans who supported us," said Wang.

In the men's doubles, Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson become the first pair from Sweden to land the title since 1991. South Korean opponents Jang Woojin and Lim Jonghoon fought bravely until the end and produced a solid effort to claim game three.

However, the main applause was reserved for Falck/Karlsson who bounced back strongly, saving two game points in the fourth to secure a magnificent 3-1 victory.

The Swedish combination defeated top seeds Lin Gaoyuan/Liang Jingkun of China in Sunday's semifinal, after overcoming Fan Zhendong/Wang Chuqin in Saturday's quarterfinal clash.

On Sunday, Chinese duo Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha outplayed their Japanese opponents Hina Hayata and Tomokazu Harimoto 3-0 to take the mixed doubles crown.

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