SINGAPORE - It will be a Chinese clean sweep at the inaugural World Table Tennis Singapore Smash after Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha won the women's doubles title on Saturday (March 19).
The world champions easily beat Japanese world No. 2s Mima Ito and Hina Hayata 3-0 (11-4, 11-6, 11-4) in the final at the OCBC Arena, following Sun and Wang Chuqin's mixed doubles win earlier.
Sun, 21, attributed the big score difference to their thorough preparation. She said: "Ito and Hayata are very strong, whether it's their abilities or quality of strokes, so we prepared very thoroughly."
Wang, 23, added: "Yingsha is better in her forehand, while I'm better in my backhand so we complement each other very well.
"When we play together, it's like one person is playing."
Wang's campaign continues on Sunday as she takes on compatriot Chen Meng in the singles final.
Their compatriots and top seeds Fan Zhendong and Ma Long will contest the men's singles crown. Fan's semi-final took 80 minutes before he beat Japanese world No. 49 Yukiya Uda, winning 4-2 (11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 16-14, 11-13, 11-9).
Trailing 2-1, Uda failed to convert four game points in the fourth game. In the sixth game, he took a 5-0 lead before world No. 1 Fan raised his game, winning seven straight points before prevailing.
Uda, 20, who hopes to break into the top 10, said: "(The fourth game) was the turning point because if I had (won that), I would have had a fighting chance.
"I managed to win a few rallies against him but I still have some things to improve on. My opponent was very calm and his skills are very good. He really proved he's a top player today."
World champion Fan, 25, praised Uda's performance, saying he had some things to learn from Uda.
He said: "For me, it's really about getting through every challenge each competition brings. The most important thing is to better myself as an athlete.
"Winning and losing are very normal parts of being an athlete and you must look at them with the right mindset. Every time I go into a competition, I want to go in with no baggage, be forward-looking and adapt accordingly."
His upcoming opponent Ma, who beat him in the Tokyo Olympics singles final, said that he too would be entering the final with a clean slate. The world No. 2 cruised to a 4-0 (11-5, 11-9, 11-4, 11-8) win over compatriot Liang Jingkun and admitted he too did not expect such a scoreline.
He said: "What happened last time is not important. Every competition is a new challenge. Fan Zhendong is very skilled and he's the world champion. There's not much pressure for me.
"I just want to do my best and make it difficult for him."
Chen Meng v Wang Manyu
Fan Zhendong v Ma Long
All players are Chinese. Matches from 7pm at OCBC Arena Hall 1. For ticketing details, go to Sistic website.