Sports Monks

Chen Meng the champion with first-ever Women’s World Cup title

Chen Meng (China) was crowned champion of the Dishang 2020 ITTF Women’s World Cup on Sunday 10 November 2020 in Weihai, China. The world no. 1 and top seed defeated compatriot and 3rd seed Sun Yingsha in the final (11-13, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6, 11-8) to claim the trophy at her first attempt.

In doing so, Chen also became the first winner of the #RESTART series, which has delivered the return of international table tennis events after eight months of suspended activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chen Meng the champion

The world no. 1 and favourite to win in Weihai was largely dominant in the gold medal match. After dropping the first game, Chen showed her true champion quality by fighting back to win the next four games.

The 26-year-old has now won 19 women’s singles titles in ITTF senior competitions, losing only five finals in the process.

The Weihai Nanhai Olympic Center has proven a happy hunting ground for Chen, who hails from Qingdao, also in Shandong province. She was crowned women’s singles champion at the 2020 China National Championships at the same venue in October.

“Last month, I also won a title in the same venue and now this World Cup is a high point for me. I feel very happy to be stood here with the trophy. This will help my confidence going into the next tournament and I hope that at the ITTF Finals in Zhengzhou I can continue my good form and win another title.” – Chen Meng

Chen’s path to victory included 4-0 wins over both Bernadette Szocs (Romania) and Lily Zhang (USA) before a seven-game thriller against Han Ying (Germany) in a gripping semi-final (4-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-4).

This was a debut Women’s World Cup campaign also for Sun Yingsha, who got her hands on silver. The 3rdseed booked her showdown with Chen Meng after strong showings against Japanese duo, Mima Ito (12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 10-12, 4-11, 11-4) and Kasumi Ishikawa (11-6, 11-4, 11-4, 11-7).

Bronze medal for Mima

Mima Ito (Japan) took the bronze medal after seeing off Han Ying (Germany) in straight games (11-2, 11-7, 11-9, 11-4). For the 2nd seed it represented a first-ever podium finish at an ITTF Women’s World Cup. Ito’s only ever appearance at the event came back in 2016.

Prior to her semi-final defeat to Sun Yingsha, Ito had been impressive with 4-1 victories over both Jeon Jihee (Korea Republic) and Chen Szu-Yu (Chinese Taipei). 

“I am satisfied with my performance against Han Ying. I was able to achieve the standards that I know I can, and I managed to get over my loss in the semi-final. If I evaluate this event out of 100, I would give myself a score of 50.” – Mima Ito

No medal ultimately for Han Ying, who enjoyed a fantastic first Women’s World Cup campaign. The 14th seed ran Chen Meng extremely close in their semi-final. The defender had defeated Jeon Jihee and Britt Eerland (Netherlands) in straight games in the group stage before claiming further scalps against 7th seed Sofia Polcanova (Austria) and 4th seed Cheng I-Ching (Chinese Taipei).

Lily leads Pan American charge

It was another memorable campaign at the Women’s World Cup for Lily Zhang (USA). The 16th seed was the breakthrough star at last year’s event in Chengdu, reaching the semi-finals before defeat to Feng Tianwei (Singapore) in the bronze medal match. However, the American struck back this time around in Weihai with a 4-2 victory against Feng in the round of 16. Her revenge was complete after six games (11-7, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11, 13-11) before losing to Chen Meng at the quarter-final stage (8-11, 6-11, 3-11, 9-11).

There was a career first for Adriana Diaz (Puerto Rico) in Weihai, who progressed to the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup. Diaz booked her place in the last 16 with group-stage victories over Zhang Mo (Canada) and Margaryta Pesotska (Ukraine) before losing to Sun Yingsha (5-11, 5-11, 8-11, 11-8, 7-11).

Meanwhile, Wu Yue (USA) ensured that three players qualified from the Pan American region for the very first time.

#RESTART continues with Men’s World Cup

Just days after the curtain comes down on a successful Women’s World Cup, preparations begin for the Dishang 2020 ITTF Men’s World Cup, taking place between 13 – 15 November 2020 also in Weihai.

Following an identical format to the women’s event, the upcoming World Cup will see 21 world-class men’s players battle it out for honours. There will be household names, such as the reigning World and Olympic champion, Ma Long (China), world no. 1 and defending Men’s World Cup champion, Fan Zhendong (China), Tomokazu Harimoto (Japan) and 2017 Men’s World Cup champion, Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Germany).

The third and final event of the #RESTART series will be the ITTF Finals between 19 – 22 November 2020 in Zhengzhou, China.

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