Guo Yan

The Womens Singles in this year’s English Open ITTF Pro Tour Major will feature 28 year-old World no. one Guo Yan , the English Open Champion  in 2009 and World no. seven, the  20 year old Ding Ning, the 2005 World Junior Champion.

Guo Yan’s match against 19 year-old Liu Shiwen, the World no. four followed a similar pattern to the English Open Final in 2009, with Guo Yan doing her utmost to capitalise on her slightly “bigger” shots. Liu Shiwen, the smaller girl also looked more vulnerable wide to her forehand and Guo Yan managed to catch her there a few times. The real drama came in the fifth end when Guo stormed into a 9-2 lead. It seemed to be all over, only for Liu Shiwen, the 2009 World Cup winner to make a rousing comeback. Dredging up every last ounce of effort  she  pulled back to 10-7 and with the large Chinese crowd urging her on she levelled at 10-10. This turned out to be the last throw of the dice. It wasn’t enough. Guo Yan made it into her second English Open Final 4-1 (11-9, 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10).

Ding Ning

The second Semi-Final was an even closer affair. There was never a lot to choose between 23 year-old Li  Xiaoxia , a seven times Pro Tour Champion and former World no. one and Ding Ning (one Pro Tour win to her name). Both players work incredibly hard for their points. Finally after  a marathaon battle Ding Ning managed to get her nose in front in the seventh game, having seen her opponent pull back from 3-1 to 3-3. Ding Ning finally emerged as a 4-3 winner (12-10, 10-12, 12-10, 11-7, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7).

Images Courtesy

Steve Kerns