FAN & CHEN Takes ITTF World Tour Grand Finals Gold in AstanaPhoto: Courtesy ITTF
China's FAN Zhendong and CHEN Meng are the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals Champions after scintillating performances today 17 December 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan. After 12 ITTF World Tour events across the globe, the top ranked 16 men's and women's players battled for the one million prize money on offer in front of a vocal crowd in the nation's capital.
20-year-old FAN, who had lost the last two years final, was a man on a mission cruising through the field to set up a dream final for the fans against Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, who will be the new world number one on 1 January 2018 when the new world ranking comes into place.
FAN who lost against OVTCHAROV just last month at the German Open final, was not going to let it happen again, with a scintillating performance to win 11-7, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10 and lift the ITTF World Tour Grand Final trophy for the first time.
FAN, who will be the world number two when the new world ranking is released in January stated: "I'm very happy with my victory, having played well in the final against Ovtcharov. I lost the last time we played at the German Open, so I'm really happy to win against him this time round. After losing in the finals the last two years, I was determined to win this trophy, so I am very satisfied to finish the year on this high."
It was an all Chinese final in the women's singles event, with the top two ranked players in the world, ZHU Yuling and CHEN Meng battling for the biggest cash prize in table tennis. CHEN who will also be the world number one in the new year was too good for her doubles partner, winning 11-6, 11-3, 11-6, 12-10 to add the World Tour Grand Final title to her three Platinum World Tour titles she won this year.
"Actually, I was prepared to play the full seven games against Yuling. We have faced each other previously this year, and even though I won that match too, it wasn't an easy win, so today I came fully prepared, and there's probably also some luck involved here."
Winners in Lisbon two years ago, and the runners up in Doha last year; Japan's Masataka MORIZONO and Yuya OSHIMA won the men's doubles title in a dramatic contest where they saved four match points. The Japanese duo eventually emerged successful against Hong Kong's HO Kwan Kit and WONG Chun Ting, by the minimal margin in a tension packed seventh game (11-7, 6-11, 6-11, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10, 12-10).
The women's doubles gold medal match saw a battle between the top two seeds for the title. CHEN & ZHU who faced off in the women's final joined forces against the top seeds, Japanese youngster Hina HAYATA and Mima ITO. The Chinese pair showed their experience running out winners 11-8, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9.
The ITTF World Tour will be back bigger and better than ever in 2018 with the first event being held on 18 January 2018.