China complete clean sweep in Asian TT

Lucknow: Asserting their supremacy, Chinese paddlers completed a clean sweep by clinching all the seven titles, including men and women singles, in the 19th Asian Table Tennis Championships here on Sunday.

World number two Ma Long defeated compatriot Zhang Jike 4-2 to bag the men’s singles title, while Ding Ning won the women’s singles by snatching a 4-3 victory over Li Xiaoxia in another all-Chinese affair.

In men’s final, Long went off to a attacking start by winning three consecutive games 11-8, 11-2, 11-5, following which the world number 16 tried to fight back by writing the next two games to his name (14-12, 11-3).

However, Long soon foiled his opponent’s bid by winning the sixth game (11-5) and thus wrapped up the issue in style.

In women’s final, World number nine Ning rallied from 0-1 down position to prevail over her higher ranked opponent Xiaoxia (4th) in a keenly contested encounter, which enthralled the motley gathering at the Uttar Pradesh Badminton Academy.

Both the Chinese eves waged a tooth and nail battle, which Ning won 5-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7.

Meanwhile, Long and Xu Xin won men’s doubles title in the prestigious tournament by outplaying country mates Wang Liqin and Jike 4-0 in a lop-sided encounter.

Korean combo of Kim Kyung Ah and Park Mi Young was the only non-Chinese party in today’s title contentions, but they failed to stop the Chinese’s juggernaut and lost 2-4 to Ning and Xioaxia in a see-saw women’s doubles final.

China have already emerged victorious in both the men’s and women’s team events and also their paddlers have earned the mixed doubles title.

Earlier, in women’s singles semifinal Xiaoxia eliminated compatriot Fan Ying 4-0 in a one-sided match, while Ning got the better of world number three Liu Shiwen (also Chinese) 4-1 in the other final-four clash.

In men’s semifinals, all of which were also Chinese affairs, Long registered a 4-2 win over Xin and then Jike reserved his final berth by edging out Liqin 4-3 in a best-of-seven tie.

Indian challenge in the week-long tournament came to an unceremonious end on Saturday.

In team championships, Indian men entered Champions Division but finished seventh out of eight sides, while their women counterparts could not qualify for the Champions Division and ranked a distant ninth.

Olympian Achanta Sharath Kamal, who was the hosts’ best bet in the tournament, also failed to do much and bowed out in third round of the men’s singles competition.