China sweeps 5 titles at table tennis worlds
Fan Zhendong claims country’s 10th straight men’s singles crown
Published: May 28, 2023 11:55 PM
Chinese players react at the medal ceremony after the men's singles finals at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Durban, South Africa on May 28, 2023. Photo: VCG

Chinese players watch as four Chinese national flags are raised at the medal ceremony after the men's singles finals at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Durban, South Africa on May 28, 2023. Photo: VCG. Photo: VCG

China has secured five titles on offer at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships (WTTC) Finals.

Fan Zhendong retained the men's singles title with a 4-2 victory over compatriot Wang Chuqin on Sunday.

In a clash of the top two seeds, world No.1 Fan outplayed the first-time singles finalist 8-11, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10, 11-13, 11-3.

It is China's 10th straight men's singles crown at the table tennis worlds, a run dating back to 2005.

Prior to their duel on Sunday, Fan and Wang had claimed the men's doubles title together. The two paddlers will leave Durban with two titles each. Wang partnered with Sun Yingsha to emerge victorious in the mixed doubles.

China's Ma Long and Liang Jingkun shared the men's singles bronze medals. 

China's Sun Yingsha made a career breakthrough by lifting her first World Championships singles trophy at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals on Sunday.

The tournament's top seed defeated compatriot and Olympic champion Chen Meng 4-2 in the final.

This is Sun's second title in Durban after she and Wang Chuqin won the mixed doubles crown. 

In the semis, Sun Yingsha demonstrated her supreme position in a 4-1 victory over Japan's Hina Hayata, who had saved nine match points to edge out another Chinese paddler Wang Yidi in the quarterfinal. 

"Two years has passed, and I feel that everyone has progressed. Hopefully I can do well on my end tomorrow without leaving any regret," Sun said.

Sun, who had won all four previous head-to-heads against Hayata, broke open a 4-4 tie at an early stage with seven points in a row through sublime serves and forehand. She raced to a 3-0 lead after bagging 11-5, 11-8 victories in the next two games.

Hayata had a glimpse of hope after triumphing 11-5 in the fourth game, but it was soon extinguished by an ­unstoppable Sun, who came through the hurdle with an 11-8 win in the fifth game.

Chen Meng rallied from one game down to dispatch teammate Chen Xingtong 4-1.

After losing the first game 11-5, Chen Meng weathered the pressure in the next two games, winning 13-11 and 14-12 to turn the tide. Chen Meng found her footing in the contest afterwards, pocketing the following two games 11-6 and 11-7 to advance to the final.

As the singles final debutant at the World Championships, Wang Chuqin looked forward to stepping onto the biggest stage before the final. "I watched it on TV or from the stands in the past, but this time I will participate in it, which is such a nice thing," he noted.

Fan and Wang helped China reclaim the men's doubles title after overwhelming Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon of South Korea 3-0.

Despite a 6-9 deficit, Fan and Wang held their nerve to snatch four points in a row and win an intense first game.

The Chinese paddlers didn't encounter much resistance from their opponents in the next two games on their way to victory.