Zhu Yuling Claims Victory in Asia, Qualifies for World Cup
Zhu Yuling was the players in form in Ahmedabad, India as she took away the 2017 Asian Cup crown and earned herself qualification into the 2017 Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup. Her result at the event spoke volume about her potential at the World Cup – she overcame both of 2016’s finalists with ease.
Pitted against 15 other top level players from the Asian continent, including her teammate and 4-time World Cup Champion Liu Shiwen, the mighty task was upon Zhu Yuling to see if she could reach her first world cup appearance.
Her confidence would certainly have been boosted as the top seed soared through the group stages with a trio of straight games victories over Sinagpore’s Yu Mengyu, Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and most significantly – 2016 World Cup champion Miu Hirano. The top seed would advance first in the group and look forward to the top 8.
Feng Tianwei was the ultimate casualty in the group stages, losing all 3 of her qualification matches and failing to make the main draw.
Zhu continued her perfect form with an overwhelming 4-0 victory against Chinese Taipei’s Cheng I-Ching 11-5, 11-3, 11-2, 11-3, it seemed she was going from strength to strength and with such dominance in high speed encounters who could stop her?
Into the semifinals and she would again face last year’s World Cup winner and current Asian Champion Miu Hirano of Japan. Hirano had upset the Chinese star in straight sets in this year’s Asian Championships semifinal, but Zhu Yuling had already reversed that result in the group stages and was now looking to capitalise. While the games were closer than the previous round, the result remained the same. Outstanding speed and dexterity won out for Zhu Yuling and she took the match 4-0.
This set up a final appearance against teammate Liu Shiwen, whose table tennis accolades and experience vastly outweigh the rising star. She had struggled through the bottom half of the draw, scraping a 7 games win over Suh Hyo Won of Korea and dropping 2 games to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa in the semifinal.
The battle began. Much like Zhu’s epic showdown with Ding Ning at this year’s 2017 World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, this match was one for the record books. Both players showed explicit knowledge of each others games and it became a constant battle of back and forth, high pace rallies. The match remained neck and neck, advantage to one player was quickly leveled and it boiled down to a 3-3 tie.
It would be Zhu Yuling who would make a big final push for the win in the 7th game, winning out 11-6 and taking the direct qualification spot to the 2017 Uncle Pop Women’s World Cup in Canada. Outstanding table tennis on display at the Asian Cup and a glimmer of what to expect in downtown Markham, Canada in October.
Full qualification list of players will be available soon. Don’t forget to get your tickets for the World Cup – available now at www.2017wwc.com