Halmstad (Sweden), May 5 (IANS) China’s women’s team won its fourth consecutive title, beating Japan 3-1 at the World Team Table Tennis Championships here on Saturday.
Japan’s Mima Ito injected some drama into the final by defeating Liu Shiwen 11-9, 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 12-10 in the opening match, reports Efe.
The Japanese world No.7 trailed 7-4 in the final game and then went down two match points at 10-8, but she showed impressive composure in winning a series of rallies to take the last four points, the last coming when Liu netted a backhand.
But China surged back quickly thanks to Ding Ning’s 11-6, 12-10, 13-11 victory over Miu Hirano and world No. 2 Zhu Yuling’s comfortable 11-4, 11-7, 11-8 win over third-ranked Kasumi Ishikawa.
That gave Liu a chance to make amends for her opening-match loss and win the title-clinching contest, and she did not squander the opportunity.
The former world No.1 easily took the first two games and then saved four game points in the decider to defeat Hirano 11-6, 11-6, 12-10 as China won the title for the 21st time.
“It was a pity I didn’t win in the first match because I was leading but then I lost the opportunity. But then in the fourth match I thought I must win and then I adjusted to myself and finally I won,” Liu said in a post-match interview to a reporter, who also served as her interpreter.
Like the Chinese men, the Asian nation’s women’s team also has thoroughly dominated table tennis for decades and now has won 20 of the last 22 editions of this international team competition (now held biennially).