Winner of the Girls’ Singles title at the World Junior Championships in the picturesque northern Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias in 2009, China Wu Yang won the Women’s Singles title at the 2016 ITTF World Tour German Open in Berlin on the afternoon of Sunday 31st January.
The no.5 seed, her defence proved too secure for Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa, the no.2 seed, a five games win was posted (11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7).
It was a win that reversed the outcome of their most recent meeting on the international scene but was in keeping with overall tradition.
At the GAC Group 2014 ITTF World Tour Kuwait Open, Kasumi Ishikawa had beaten Wu Yang in a full distance seven games duel; the win ended a run of eight defeats commencing in 2009 when the two had met in the opening round of the Women’s Singles event at the China Open.
Surrendered Just Two Games
Furthermore, the success in Berlin underlined a fact that did not need underlining; Wu Yang is by some distance the best female defensive player on planet earth.
In Berlin she surrendered just two individual games, notably both against players of a similar style; in the opening round she was extended to five games by Poland’s Natalia Partyka, like Kasumi Ishikawa a left handed attacking player.
The self-styled body guard presented an impenetrable suit of armour; she is the player who protects her colleagues against possible invader.
Defeats again fellow Chinese players are not unusual, against those from foreign shores, you only need the fingers of one hand.
Five Year Wait
Success for Wu Yang ended somewhat of a barren spell; it was her fifth ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final, her third success but five years since she last won.
In 2011, she emerged victorious in both Slovenia and Poland. Moreover, she beat most worthy colleagues to secure the top prize; in Poland she accounted for Wang Xuan, in Slovenia it was none other than Li Xiaoxia, who progressed to become both Olympic Games and World champion.
The win recorded by Wu Yang means that in 294 ITTF World Tour tournaments, China has provided the Women’s Singles winner on 145 occasions shared between 29 players.
Meanwhile, for Kasumi Ishikawa, it was her sixth appearance in an ITTF World Tour Women’s Singles final; her third runners up spot.
Nearly 40% of parents of girls report their daughters being inspired to take up a sport after watching professionals in action.
England 6-Russia )