Gue Yue / Li Xiaoxia Master Class

Sunday’s action in the ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals commenced with the first of the Ladies’ Doubles semi-finals and on this occasion it never looked as if an upset was really on the cards. Top seeded Li Xiaoxia and Gue Yue ranked no. two and six in the World were always in charge against the Singaporean pairing of Lia Jiawei and Wang Yuegu (ranked numbers nine and 18 in the World respectively).

As hard as Wang Yuegu (part of the Singapore side who stunned China by winning the 2010 World Championships team final) and Lia Jiawei (the fourth placer in the Ladies Singles in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics) tried, they were always behind against a very well-oiled China pairing. Left-handed Gue Yue, the winner of an incredible 34 Pro Tour and Pro Tour Finals Ladies Doubles titles was clearly very keen to add to her haul and the always consistent Li Xiaoxia backed her up incredibly well.

Wang Yuegu, whose cheerful chirpy personality endeared her to the many helpers in the training hall had caused the biggest upset in the Ladies Singles by beating top seed Guo Yan with some lightning hitting. Here, she found it almost impossible to get in early – Gue Yue just wouldn’t let her.

Apart from an out-of-character fourth game which the Singapore pairing won easily the Chinese girls were always in charge and they won fairly comfortably 11-5, 11-3, 11-7, 5-11, 11-7.

They will be  a tough act to beat in the final.

Steve Kerns