The eagerly anticipated finale to the men’s singles competition at the “Tokyo 2020 Preparation for China Table Tennis Team – Olympic Simulation Games” in Lingshui City saw Liang Jingkun clinching crown with a 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-6, 7-11, 12-10 win over Wang Chuqin.
It was a final worthy of the talents of two of China’s young stars. Jingkun possesses a positive attitude no matter the situation, times his contact with the ball early, and plays with no inhibitions while Chuqin’s greatest asset is his excellent control of rhythm and impact.
A tense start to proceedings, saw the duo level after the opening eight points. Jingkun managed to pull ahead and held a game point opportunity but couldn’t take advantage with Chuqin stealing game one. Chuqin managed a comeback in the second game as well, recovering from 7-0 to draw level at 10-10, however, Jingkun held firm to make it one game apiece.
The tension between the two finalists was also present in game three with both players locked at 8-8. Jingkun then picked up three points in a row to move ahead for the first time. Suddenly Jingkun appeared to have found an extra spring in his step and before long his lead extended to 3-1, needing just one more game to secure victory.
Chuqin stepped his offensive up a gear and he was instantly rewarded for the change to his approach, forcing the match into a sixth game but a seventh wasn’t on the horizon.
The two finalists continued to give it their all and at 7-7 all was still to play for. Chuqin looked to be closing in on another game win, adding the next two points to his tally, but Jingkun kept fighting and eventually seized the game to defeat his younger colleague.
Meanwhile, Fan Zhendong took home the third spot on the podium after Xu Chenhao withdrew from their head-to-head encounter due to injury.