Inevitable double gold for China in doubles
China picked up both gold medals available at the table tennis at the Universiade in Napoli at PalaTrincone, unsurprising given both the women’s and men’s doubles finals consisted solely of Chinese athletes. It was the duo of Siqi Fan and Yidi Wang who took gold in the women’s competition, with Ziyang Yu and Zihao Zhao winning gold in the men’s event.
The women’s final was up first, and in a rather one-sided affair it was Fan and Wang who defeated their Chinese counterparts Yan Guo and Rui Zhang. The duo hadn’t lost a single set in their last three rounds heading into the final, and they kept it that way as they eased to a 4-0 win.
“It feels good, I’m very happy to win gold,” said Fan.
“I feel very good because it’s our first time winning something like this,” added Wang. “We don’t have too much time for training, so we’re very satisfied with the result.”
“I felt comfortable out there, but it’s very hot here in Napoli, the day time is too long!” joked Wang.
The final pairs had very similar runs throughout the competition and maintained their fine form all the way to the final. Both won their round of 16 games 3-0 yesterday. Both were also tasked with overcoming Romanian pairs in the quarterfinals later that evening, with Guo/Zhang beating Ciobanu/Diaconu 4-2, as Fan/Wang defeated Clapa/Zaharia 4-0.
Semifinals witnessed identical score lines as Fan/Wang were once again 4-0 victors, this time over Russia’s Noskova/Shcherbatykh. Guo/Zhang meanwhile overcame Japanese duo Ando/Sasao 4-2, meaning Russia and Japan shared bronze.
In a more competitive men’s doubles final, it was China’s Ziyang Yu and Zihao Zhao who defeated their national teammates Linfeng Zhu and Lingxuan Kong 4-1.
Yu/Zhao and Kong/Zhu edged out the Japanese duos of Igarashi/Sakai and Sadamatsu/Tsuboi respectively in the semifinals earlier today, after both pairs had eased through their quarterfinals 4-0 yesterday. The beaten Japanese semifinalists therefore shared the bronze medal.
It was, however, Yu and Zhao who claimed gold thanks to a determined display in a gripping final. Just like the upcoming women’s singles final, the men’s encounter could see the gold medal winners battle it out for top spot should they win their respective semifinals.