A spirited effort and one of which she can be proud but in the opening round at the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals in Markham, Toronto it was defeat for the host nation’s Zhang Mo.
On the early evening of Saturday 28th October, the no.16 seed, she was beaten in five games by China’s Zhu Yuling, the top seed (6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12, 11-2); the contest following a straight games win for the latter’s compatriot, Liu Shiwen, the no.2 seed, when confronting Egypt’s Dina Meshref, the no.18 seed (11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-2).
by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Urged forward by the home crowd, Zhang Mo did cause Zhu Yuling moments of consternation.
After winning the opening game Zhang Mo stood level with Zhu Yuling at 6-all in the second, whilst in the fourth game she was on the very precipice of gaining parity. She led 10-8, Zhu Yuling saved both game points before Zhang Mo returned the compliment by following suit to save two games points herself.
However, she could not make it a third; Zhu Yuling duly emerged successful and more relaxed, having shown visible signs of tension in the fourth game, won the first five points of the fifth game, nerves settled, she accelerated to victory.
Throughout the contest, Zhang Mo had traded blow for blow with Zhu Yuling in fast close to the table counter attacking rallies; notably the Canadian made full use of the table creating angles but superbly balanced Zhu Yuling was able to respond.
Defeat for Zhang Mo but in what is now her fifth appearance in the Women’s World Cup, she can reflect on her best performance to date; it is the first time she has reached the main draw.
Likewise, Dina Meshref can return home with head held high, for the third consecutive time, in what is now five appearances in the Women’s World Cup, she has negotiated the initial phase and advanced to the main. It is a feat no other player from the continent of Africa has ever achieved.