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Table Tennis: China, Korea pair up for rare World Championships title

Yang Ha-eun of South Korea and Chinese superstar Xu Xin celebrate their mixed doubles triumph. Photo: ITTF.

Yang Ha-eun of South Korea and Chinese superstar Xu Xin celebrate their mixed doubles triumph. Photo: ITTF.

May 2, 2015: Chinese superstar Xu Xin and Yang Ha-eun of South Korea became the first two-nation pair to win the World Championships mixed doubles title since 1966.

 

In their first competition together, the Chinese-Korean duo defeated Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa and Maharu Yoshimura 4-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6) in Friday’s final in Suzhou, China.

 

Xu, 25, had previously sustained a shoulder injury as compatriot Fang Bo knocked him out of the men’s singles, but the World No. 2 managed still produced a winning performance with Yang, the women’s World No. 21.

 

“The injury definitely affected my play, but I am glad that our partnership worked out well despite my injury. I am neither a hero nor a warrior, but I made sure that I give my best,” Xu said.

 

“This victory is a result of the combined effort by me and my partner. Her performances have been very stable since our first match here in Suzhou and she has improved a lot to help us win against the Japanese in the finals.”

 

Yang, 21, was ecstatic after winning her first World Championships title. “I am really excited that we could win,” she said. “It’s definitely an invaluable experience for me and I’ve learnt a lot from this partnership with Xu Xin, not just in technique but also in terms of mental strength.”

 

Despite losing, it was an historic moment for the Japanese team, who were the first mixed doubles finalists from their country since 1977.

 

Japan also had reason to celebrate in the women’s singles, as 14-year-old Mima Ito made it to the quarter-finals in her first World Championships. After overcoming Tetyana Bilenko of Ukraine 4-1, she played her best match in Suzhou to challenge the Chinese supremacy, taking a two-game lead against defending champion Li Xiaoxia of China.

 

However, the 2012 Olympic champion came back to win 4-2 (9-11, 14-16, 11-2, 13-11, 11-2) and join compatriots Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and Mu Zi, who became the first player in the modern era to make the semi-finals from the qualifiers.

 

Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia

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