Liu Shiwen & Xu Xin Clinch Australian Open Titles Down Under
China's LIU Shiwen's global renaissance has continued by defeating her arch nemesis and teammate DING Ning to win the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Australian Open today, 29 July 2018 in Geelong, Australia.
The World Tour Platinum title was the former world number one's third singles title of 2018, after a disappointing last two years on the international stage, and the fact it came against Olympic Champion DING Ning whom she lost the 2015 World Championships final to, makes it even sweeter.
LIU Shiwen, who came back from 3-2 down to win a seven-game epic match 11-5, 11,7, 3-11, 5-11, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6 to thrill the sold-out crowd, stated: "This is my first time here in Australia and playing the Australian open. The road to the title was very tough, but I am so happy that I finally won."
"Both of us made some slight changes to our tactics during the match to try and overtake each other in the match. Ding Ning is a very strong opponent, even though I took the victory today, there's still a lot of little details that I need to review and learn from this match."
Like LIU Shiwen, XU Xin (CHN) also has had very mixed results over the past few months, losing to international players at the past couple of World Tour events, which put the Olympic Team Champion under immense pressure in the Chinese team. The pen-holder was able to silence his critics by defeating 2015 World Junior Champion, 20-year-old LIU Dingshuo (CHN) to win the men's singles title 12-10, 4-11, 12-10, 15-13, 11-6.
The 28-year-old who was extremely relieved to be back in the winner's circle stated: "It was an all-Chinese match, so we are familiar with each other. I didn't play as good as yesterday, but I'm more experienced than my opponent when it came to the crucial points in the match. Maybe it's the experience that makes the difference, younger players still tend to be impatient when it comes to the crucial moments, I'm bolder when it comes to handling the crucial points, once your attacks work during the crucial moments, the impact on the opponent is very deadly."
"I didn't manage to play well in the recent 2 World Tour events, so there was pressure on me. There are still many flaws in my game that I need to fix and solve ASAP. Winning this Platinum event title will bring a boost to my confidence, because I'm dissatisfied with my performance in the past two World Tour, so I wanted to win a title to prove myself. I used to feel more relaxed on the World Tour, and I didn't lose any match to a non-Chinese for 5 years, and was able to at least make it to the semifinals so I am glad I am back!."
Hina HAYATA & Mima ITO won an all Japanese affair in the women's doubles final, being victorious 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 against teammates Honoka HASHIMOTO & Hitomi SATO.
Korea Republic's JEOUNG Youngsik & LEE Sangsu were too strong for the Japanese pair of Masataka MORIZONO & Yuya OSHIMA to win the men's doubles title 14-12, 11-5, 11-7.
The men's doubles triumph was the second title of the event for LEE Sangsu, after he teamed up with JEON Jihee to win the Mixed Doubles event 6-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-8, 118 against fellow Koreans LIM Jonghoon & YANG Haeun.
Next up for the world's best table tennis players is the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Asarel Bulgaria Open in Panagyurishte on 16-19 August, as the players continue the fight to qualify for the one million dollar ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be held in December.