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Forecast calls for bright Sun rise

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-29 07:48

CHENGDU - In two short weeks, Chinese youth paddler Sun Yingsha has made a name for herself in the table tennis world as the 16-year-old claimed her first ITTF World Tour title at the Japan Open and then reached the final of the China Open.

Though she lost 4-1 to world No 1 Ding Ning in the women's final at the China Open last Sunday, Sun has recorded a perfect start at the ITTF World Tour tournaments by winning her first 11 matches, including victories over established stars Liu Shiwen, Chen Meng, and Feng Tianwei.

"The China Open was just my second World Tour event. Before the competition, my goal was not to lose to foreign players and just try to play game by game," Sun said after defeating teammate and second seed Liu Shiwen without losing a game in the semifinal on Saturday.

Forecast calls for bright Sun rise

"Maybe it was because nobody noticedme before that I got some chances."

Sun's weaknesses were exposed against Olympic champion Ding in the final.

After losing the first game, top seed Ding quickly got back on track to take four straight and claim her third China Open singles title and snap Sun's stunning run.

"It was not my normal form today; Ding put too much pressure on me, especially with her serve," Sun said.

"I won the first game, but then Ding knew my tactics so well and dominated. I can see that I still have to learn a lot from top players like Ding."

Hailing from Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, Sun first caught the public's attention in 2015 when she won the singles title at the Junior National Championships before being selected for the National Team B in the same year.

In January this year, she was promoted to Team A.

Her emergence parallels the rise of Japan's Miu Hirano, the 17-year-old who shot to fame by winning the Asian Championships in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, in April.

Stunned by Hirano's rapid rise, and in a bid to prepare for the DusseldorfWorld Championships, the national team chose Sun to imitate Hirano's style in training for the benefit of her teammates.

At the Japan Open last week, Sun won the singles title after Chen Meng eliminated Hirano in the semifinal.

Sun also tasted victory over Hirano at the Asian Junior Championships last September, with the pair seen as the future of the women's game.

"Sun is very young, but we can see that she has great potential. She is a player with her own thoughts," said Grand Slam champion Ding.

"Now, other players have got to study her. She will face more difficulties than before, which means she should work harder than before."

Liu laments player boycott

Former chief of the Chinese national table tennis team Liu Guoliang said on Tuesday he feels "responsible" for three of the nation's top players boycotting a recent international event.

Liu made the remark four days after three players and two coaches pulled out of the China Open on June 23 in protest at the Chinese Table Tennis Association's decision to remove Liu as the team's chief.

Forecast calls for bright Sun rise

Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin - Nos 1, 2 and 3 in the men's world rankings - did not appear for their second-round singles matches at the ITTF China Open in Chengdu.

Before the competition, the three players and coaches Qin Zhijian and Ma Lin posted identical messages on their social-media accounts, saying they "had no desire to fight" because they missed Liu Guoliang.

Liu said on Tuesday on his social-media account that he was not aware of anything before the withdrawals, but he still feels responsible since he had been the men's team head coach for 14 years and the team chief for four years.

"I think Chinese sports reform must be enforced," Liu said in the post.

"There are indeed many problems in the current management system. On the path of reform, I will not stand in the way of the ongoing reform just because I have been removed from my former position.

"I will set the greater interest above everything and will try my best to push forward the reform of Chinese table tennis."

Liu said the team is competing for China, therefore "winning glory for the nation and keeping a good image of the country should never be affected by anything else, not even by personal feelings".

"Don't blame anyone. Don't lose confidence. Don't run away from your responsibilities. We should be united to overcome difficulties," Liu added.

Xinhua

 

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