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China secure women's singles title at WTT Champions Incheon


China secured the women's singles title at the WTT Champions Incheon as top-ranked paddler Sun Yingsha set up the showdown with Wang Manyu on Saturday. Meanwhile, Liang Jingkun reached the men's final and will face Brazil's Hugo Calderano, who stunned China's Fan Zhendong 4-2 in the previous round.

Sun walked away from Wang Yidi 4-0 (11-9, 11-9, 12-10, 11-7), and second-seeded Wang Manyu bested fourth seed Chen 4-2 (11-5, 13-15, 7-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-3).

"I played normally throughout the match and dealt well with the pace and the drop points. I will go all out and show the best of myself in the final," said the world No. 1. 

In the quarterfinals staged earlier, Sun edged past Japan's fifth seed Hina Hayata 3-2, while Wang notched an easy win over Austria's Sofia Polcanova 3-0 in only 21 minutes to set up the semifinal showdown against Sun.

On the men's side, Fan got off to a bad start against Calderano, losing three games in a row, 11-6, 11-8, 11-9, although he managed to reduce the deficit by winning the next two games 11-6, 11-8. He then went down to Brazil's top player 11-5 in the sixth game. 

"It was really important to start 3-0 up. It's really hard for anyone to come back from 3-0 down. But of course, there's one reason why he's one of the best in the world, so I know he could come back, and I just had to keep cool, keep fighting, keep playing my level, good tactics and good variation," Calderano said.

Liang then earned a hard-fought victory against third seed and Olympic champion Ma Long 4-3 (11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 5-11, 8-11, 11-6, 11-7).

"After notching two wins at the beginning, I sort of started to leave things to chance and luck, and as a result, I lost the following three sets. Then I quickly adjusted my mentality and fought hard point by point and finally sealed the victory," Liang said.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: China's Sun Yingsha in action during the WTT Singapore Smash round of 16 in Singapore, March 13, 2024. /CFP)

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