China’s Liu wins World Tour TT title

Dubai, Jan 12: Chinese World No.1 Liu Shiwen won the women’s singles title of the World Tour Grand Final of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) by beating compatriot and World No.2 Ding Ning here.

The final, held in the Hamad Bin Rashid Hall of the Al Nasr Sports Club, began spectacularly in a fierce and tight fight but eventually turned in favour of Liu, who cashed in $104,000 with a 4-2 victory Saturday, reports Xinhua.

Liu said that while Ding was a strong competitor, she was lucky as she won a number of key points in the last two sets.

In the middle of the match, Ding, who won $52,000, exhausted and made mistakes as the match advanced.

In men’s competition, China’s World No.1 Ma Long and Kim Menseok from South Korea entered the first semi-final which will take place Sunday. In the quarter-final, Ma was victorious over countryman Zhang Jike in a neck-and-neck battle which ended 4-3.

“After I lost the first two sets as I was a bit nervous, I changed my tactics and played longer balls which surprised Zhang a bit,” Ma said.

World No.27 Kim beat Japan’s World No.46 Masato Shiono 4-3.

World No.2 Xu Xin and 16-year-old Fan Zhendong, both from China, will play Sunday in the other semi-final.

In the quarter-finals, attacking player Xu kicked out French Abdel-Kader Salifou. Despite his clear 0-4 defeat, the 103-ranked Salifo said he was extremely happy to have reached the quarters in an event which involves the best players from the World Tour.

World No.5 Fan scored a 4-1 victory over his compatriot Wang Hao.

The men’s semi-finals and final will take place Sunday.