2011 Wttc: Eighth Day Summary

2011 WTTC: Eighth day summary
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Today it was the final day of 2011 WTTC. A day full of emotions where Li Xiaoxia / Guo Yue stood victorious once again as the Women's Doubles Champions and Zhang Jike took over the title of 2011 WTTC Men's Singles World Champion from the hands of Wang Hao in an great final match full of drama on its final set.

2011 WTTC will be remembered as a great tournament. The level of the competition was fantastic and it had a great share of high emotions while on decisive duels played by such players as Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Li XiaoxiaTimo Boll, Ding Ning, Wang Hao and Zhang Jike.

In the other hand, it served to confirm, once more, the currently undisputed dominance of Chinese Table Tennis over the sport as a whole. And although Cai Zhenhua didn't want his Nation to swept with all the gold medals, and the Rotterdam public got sure to cheer as much as possible for European stars, they couldn't help but did it again.

In the end Zhang Jike and Ding Ning stood victorious as the World Champions after playing epic finals against their compatriots Wang Hao and Li Xiaoxia respectively. Well deserved titles for two players that demonstrated to be the best of the best.

Men's Singles

Semifinal: Wang Hao 4 - 2 Ma Long

The first semifinal between Wang Hao and Ma Long was a replay of one of the semifinals match from 2009 WTTC in Yokohama. On that occasion Wang Hao got a victory of 4-1 over Ma Long. This time he also won but 4-2.

Generally speaking, it was a balanced game. Ma Long had the chance of putting himself up 3-1 with a set point in the 4th set, but Wang Hao's mental strength is always there to help him get out of the most difficult situations.

Besides, Wang Hao played really smart, focusing on unexpected shots meant to destabilize Ma Long's position and forcing him to take risks or make mistakes. He knows that Ma Long becomes strong on long rallies so he went the short path and avoided entering in such dynamics.

In the end Wang Hao was a fair winner, who could neutralize Ma Long's game and get a victory that put him on the edge of getting his 2nd WTTC title.

Semifinal: Zhang Jike 4 - 1 Timo Boll

Europe's hope to get a place in 2011 WTTC final was abruptly stopped by Zhang Jike's impressive performance, who, except for the 1st set where Timo posted a victory of 11-7, was in complete control of the match and never saw his winning option under threat at hands of the German.

Zhang Jike's extreme efficiency proved to be too much this time for Timo, who looked more and more nervous as time passed and fell victim of anxiety on long rallies.

Timo seemed to miss during all the match that he needed to keep his mind as calm as possible (well, easier to say than to do, specially when you are not playing) and be as stable as he could on his standing position while fighting long rallies. Instead, Timo tried to finish points as quick as possible making one of his most well know shoots twisting his forearm (and sometimes even his hip!) trying to answer Zhang Jike's shoots with some additional complexity for the Chinese. Well, this time it didn't work except for maybe the first set, and he couldn't see that during those rallies he kept a more stable standing position, he got better results.

All in all, Zhang Jike was clearly the winner this time again, as in the German Open final and the Euro-Asia cup this year also, so it seems currently he's one step beyong Timo.

Final: Zhang Jike 4 - 2 Wang Hao

The Men's Singles Final between Zhang Jike and Wang Hao had it's great share of drama as any World Final needs.

At the start, Zhang Jike's superb performance put him quickly in control of the game, seizing the first 2 sets, thanks to his terrific control for both, forehand and backhand shoots. He effectively neutralized Wang Hao's game thanks to his smart pace changes, amazing services, great angles with his forehand attacks and an elegant strategy of early blocking against Wang Hao's famous "banana" shots, as called by Jean-Michel Saive.

But it won't last the entire match. Starting the third, Wang Hao was back on the game, with more determination to defend his world title after the initial shock of Zhang Jike's terrific start. And as if the gods where with him, he started to show an inordinate amount of luck, with shots on the edges or touching the net and falling on his opponent side. All these changes overwhelmed young Zhang Jike who lost his focus and confidence and lost the following 2 sets, although he was very close to seize the 4th one.

Suddenly the match was even, but Zhang Jike was back. And although he started to show again the performance that amazed the entire world, the match fell on rythm after nerves were starting to be filled by the players.

All in all, Zhang Jike seized the 3rd set and put himself on championship point at 10-5. But Wang Hao wouldn't gave up and he managed to even the scoreboard at 10-10! In the resume of the match, Wang Hao even had the chance to win the set when he was 12-11, but Zhang Jike didn't allow this opportunity to fly away from him and after 7 attempts he won the match.

Full of happiness Zhang Jike shouted as never before, ripped off his shirt and the multitude was delighted. He was the new World Champion.

Congratulations to Zhang Jike for his outstanding performance!

Women's Doubles

Final: Li Xiaoxia / Guo Yue 4 - 0 Ding Ning / Guo Yan

The Women's Doubles final between Guo Yue / Li Xiaoxia and Ding Ning / Guo Yan was unexpectedly short.

Guo Yue / Li Xiaoxia duo showed great performance and determination to take the title, and didn't find big difficulties from their opponents except during the 3rd and 4th set where Ding Ning / Guo Yan got a chance to take over the set, a chance they didn't fulfill.

At the same time, recent Women's Singles Champion Ding Ning didn't show up this time as eager for victory as yesterday during the singles final, while Li Xiaoxia was seen as very concentrated and maybe even eager for revenge after yesterday defeat.

In the end, Li Xiaoxia / Guo Yue again stood victorious as World Champions, a title they also won in 2009 WTTC Yokohama.

Congratulations to Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yue for their success as the finest doubles pair in the world in 2 World Championships in a row!

Photo credit: STIGA Facebook page

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Did You Know?

Angelica Rozeanu-Adelstein, from Romania, won 6 World titles in a row

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