Table Tennis

Chen Meng wins Women's World Cup, beating Sun Yingsha in all-Chinese final

World number one beats her Chinese compatriot, the world number three, in five games.

By ZK Goh ·

World number one Chen Meng has won the ITTF Women's World Cup after beating Chinese teammate Sun Yingsha, the world number three, in a tightly-contested final that lasted for five games.

It is Chen's first World Cup singles title.

Chen, six years Sun's senior, showed her experience as she held her nerve in Weihai, northeastern China. Sun had taken an early lead, winning the first game 13-11 that either woman could have won.

But the top-ranked player, also the tournament top seed, pumped herself up with huge screams and a big show of emotion. In the second game, she found herself 5-1 down but rolled off 10 of the next 11 points to win it 11-6 and level the match.

The third, fourth, and fifth games saw Sun constantly press Chen but the younger player was never able to find the extra gear to overcome Chen.

Chen won 11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8.

Chen had earlier, somewhat surprisingly, only just scraped into the final, beating Germany's Han Ying in a match that went the full seven games. After taking a 3-1 lead, she dropped the fifth and sixth games to her Chinese-born German opponent before prevailing 11-4 in the decider.

Sun, meanwhile, beat world number two Ito Mima of Japan in six games in the semi-final to book her spot against Chen. After racing to a 3-0 lead, Sun was pegged back by Ito before she finally sealed the deal in the sixth.

Speaking after the final, Chen said she considered the Weihai venue good for her, after she won the Chinese national title in the same arena.

"With the World Cup, it is a breakthrough for me. I was feeling quite a bit of pressure before the tournament and in the first game i lost the game despite being in the lead. Being able to let loose and excel as the match progressed was really not easy."

Ito breezes through bronze playoff

In the bronze medal final, Ito whitewashed Han 4-0 in straight games 11-2, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4.

Han was never really in the game, with her best period coming in the third game when she matched Ito closely.

However, the Japanese player quickly built up an 8-0 lead in the fourth game, and although Han won four points in a row to force Ito into a timeout, the result was never in doubt.

It is Ito's first singles medal in a major championships.

Hearteningly, a small number of fans were allowed in to watch both the bronze medal match and the final, sitting in the top tier of the arena with social distancing observed. It added a different dimension to the matches, although the usual yells in support of players were missing.

(Top photo: ITTF)