In an electrifying display of skill and teamwork, Wang Chuqin (CHN) and Sun Yingsha (CHN) have emerged as the mixed doubles champions at the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals held in Durban. The World No.1 pair successfully defended their title from the 2021 edition in Houston, solidifying their dominance in the mixed doubles category.
The epic final clash witnessed Wang Chuqin and Sun Yingsha emerging victorious 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-7) against the World No.2 pair, Tomokazu Harimoto and Hina Hayata of Japan, and seizing the emblematic Heydusek Cup.
Sun Yingsha conveyed her appreciation for the tremendous support they received from their fans, adding, “I really appreciate the support that we have been shown by our fans, and it was great to see them come all the way to South Africa to support us live.”
With the champions of the mixed doubles now crowned, the focus now shifts to the upcoming finals in other categories.
In one of the most dramatic encounters in World Championships Finals history, Hina Hayata (JPN) secured her place on the Women’s Singles podium, matching compatriot Miu Hirano’s run to the semifinal in the 2017 World Championships.
She defeated Wang Yidi (4-11, 11-3, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 8-11, 21-19) after saving nine match points in an unforgettable quarter-final showdown with twists and turns, momentum swings and an unbelievable display of grit from both players.
An emotional Hayata paid homage to her fans for their support and emphasised how much it meant to beat a Chinese opponent for the first time. She remarked, “I have not been able to win against a Chinese opponent until now, and to be able to do that is an incredible honour – I could not hold back my tears. I hope to hear even louder cheers in my match tomorrow. There are many people who contributed to where I am today, and now, I finally feel like I was able to give back to them.”
In the other upset of the day, defending champion Wang Manyu (CHN) crashed out of the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles, defeated by Chen Xingtong (CHN) in four straight games (11-5, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9). Over at the Men’s Singles, Egyptian Omar Assar’s fairytale run came to an end after being defeated 4-0 (11-7, 13-11, 11-3, 11-7) by World No.1 and defending champion Fan Zhendong (CHN). This ended his exceptional tournament where he made history as only the second African ever to make the quarter-finals of the World Championships after Nigerian Quadri Aruna.
Both the Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles finals will see a China vs Republic of Korea match-up as Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin (CHN) take on Jang Woojin and Lim Jong Hoon (KOR), while Wang Yidi and Chen Meng (CHN) meet Jeon Jihee and Shin Yubin (KOR). Jeon and Shin brushed aside defending champion and World No.1 pair Sun Yingsha and Wang Manyu in three straight games (11-7, 11-9, 11-6) in yet another upset of the day. Both matches will be played out tomorrow, while the Singles finals will take place on Sunday for the crowning glory of the individual champions.
As the ITTF World Championships Finals is approaching its end, a press conference was organised to assess the success of the event, in the presence of ITTF President Petra Sörling, President of South Africa Table Tennis Board Joe Carrim and ITTF Group CEO Steve Dainton. President Sörling expressed her delight at the successful organisation of such a grand event, emphasising the significance of Africa hosting if after 84 years.
“This tournament is not only a celebration of hosting the event in Africa, but also an opportunity to spread the love of table tennis,” she stated. “We must commend all those who have made this event a memorable one. It serves as an inspiration to promote the sport globally and create a lasting legacy that will resonate throughout the world.”