Winner of the Women’s Singles title at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Slovenian Open in Velenje in late January; China’s Ding Ning secured her second such title of the year when she won in Poznan on Sunday 11th November.
She beat Romania’s Elizabeta Samara in the final of the Women’s Singles event at the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Polish Open to collect the sixth such title of her career in nine finals
In the gold medal contest, occupying the top seeded position in the draw, she withstood a splendid effort by Romania’s Elizabeta Samara, the second seed, to secure gold.
Ding Ning won in five games (5-11, 11-5, 11-7, 12-10, 12-10).
It was the second time in the career of Elizabeta Samara that she had reached a Tour Women’s Singles final; it was the second time that she had to settle for the silver medal.
In 2010 in Budaors, she reached the final at the Hungarian Open. Losing to Hong Kong’s Tie Yana.
Blow for Blow
Elizabeta Samara matched Ding Ning blow for blow at the start of the opening game; certainly she was in a most positive frame of mind and was not going to give ground.
Staying close to the table, forcing Ding Ning away on occasions she went ahead 8-5; it was a lead that was to prove significant. She won the opening game 11-5.
The loss of the first game had ignited Ding Ning.
In the second game she was assertive from the very first point in a contest that enthralled the crowd in Poznan; fare of an exquisite taste was on the table.
Subtle changes to the degrees and variety of spin on the service plus a fast first attack from Elizabeta Samara gave Ding Ning food for thought.
Fast attacking rallies, outstanding counter top spin exchanges greeted the start of the third game with Elizabeta Samara moving ahead 4-2; the question posed was as to whether the Romanian could maintain such a high tempo.
Gradually, Ding Ning, taking a leaf out of the Elizabeta Samara book with clever variations in service and a lethal first forehand attack recovered; at 7-all it was parity.
Two serves to follow from Ding Ning, the advantage capitalised, the next four points all went the way of the reigning World champion. Ding Ning led by two games to one.
Saved Game Points
Immediately Elizabeta Samara responded; in the fourth game she established a 10-6 lead.
She held four game points to level matters at two games apiece; Ding Ning saved all four, then won the next two to clinch the game.
In the third game Ding Ning had responded at the crucial stage, in the fourth game she had done exactly the same.
Chances had escaped the grasp of Elizabeta Samara but to her credit she kept pace with Ding Ning in the fifth game and as in the third was level at 7-all.
However, this time concluding matters proved more difficult for Ding Ning; at 9-all it was parity before Ding Ning won the next point to lead 10-9.
The match point was saved but when a second chance arose at 11-10, the opportunity was seized.
Ding Ning won the point, the game the match and the title; another accolade for the World champion.
Both player have qualified for the GAC GROUP 2012 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals to be staged in Hangzhou, China in December.
photo Getty Images