Table Tennis Worlds: Ma Long eases into semis as Liu Shiwen readies for singles title
Updated 10:46, 27-Apr-2019
Liu Shiwen came from two sets down to crush more heralded teammate Ding Ning in the women's singles semifinal at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest on Friday.
Liu admitted she denied Ding any point in the fourth set because she respects her rival.
"In a major event like the world championships, I tried very hard on every point because I respect Ding Ning very much," she said.
Liu will vie for the singles title with compatriot Chen Meng, who won 11-5, 11-7, 11-5, 11-8 in another semifinal against Wang Manyu.
"This might be my last world championships," said Liu. "I have been expecting to use all my potential."
Liu said she started to focus solely on the game when she was two sets down, explaining that "Ding Ning is a very difficult and strong player. After I lost the first two sets, I had to change my tactics. Otherwise, I would be doomed."
 Liu Shiwen shut out two-time defending champion Ding Ning in the women's singles semifinals. /VCG Photo

 Liu Shiwen shut out two-time defending champion Ding Ning in the women's singles semifinals. /VCG Photo

Late in the day, Liu and Xu Xin nipped defending champions Kasumi Ishikawa/Maharu Yoshimura from Japan 4-1 in the mixed doubles final.
Olympic champion Ma Long scored a straight-set win over fellow Chinese Lin Gaoyuan as he eased into the men's singles semifinals.
The two-time defending champion and the Chinese team captain played a solid match as he beat his 24-year-old teammate 11-8, 11-9, 11-8 and 11-4.
Ma Long will meet another Chinese Liang Jingkun, who edged Japanese Koki Niwa 4-3, in Saturday's semifinals.
Sweden's Mattias Falck beat France's Simon Gauzy 4-1 while An Jaehyun downed fellow South Korean Jang Woojin 4-3.
Ma Long/Wang Chuqin defeated Liang Jingkun/Lin Gaoyuan 4-0 in an all-Chinese men's doubles semifinal on Friday night.
They will fight for the championship against Romania's Ionescu/Spain's Alvaro Robles, 4-3 winners over Portugal's Tiago Apolonia/Joao Monteiro.
Source(s): Xinhua News Agency