Table Tennis: Ding Ning wins Worlds after injury drama (Watch Video)
- Updated: May 3, 2015
May 3, 2015: World No. 1 Ding Ning pulled off the most dramatic victories in table tennis history as she overcame injury in the final game to edge Liu Shiwen in an all-Chinese World Championships final in Suzhou.
After Liu, the World No. 2, won a second straight game to make it 3-3 and force a decider, Ding collapsed on the floor when 2-0 down in the seventh, with many fearing her title challenge was over.
After taking a medical timeout, the 24-year-old decided to continue despite struggling to walk, but played a brilliantly tactical game to win the decider 11-8 and complete a famous 4-3 victory (7-11, 15-13, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 11-8).
Ding savoured her second World Championships title, having won her first in Rotterdam in 2011, and looked back on the second game as the turning point in a thrilling encounter.
“It was like a dream to me to have won this title. It especially felt so in the last game when I sprained my ankle when I was 0-2 down,” Ding said.
“The turning point was really in the second game when I was trailing two points behind at 8-10, but I managed to save both game points and eventually took that game 15-13. I believe the momentum of the game changed at that point of time.”
Ding was rushed to hospital in an ambulance immediately after the final as she assessed whether she could compete in Sunday morning’s women’s doubles semi-final with Li Xiaoxia, the 2013 World Championships singles champion.
Xu Xin, the men’s World No. 2, won his second gold of the World Championships by teaming up with Zhang Jike to beat Chinese teammates Fan Zhendong and Zhou Yu (4-2 12-14, 11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-9) in Saturday’s men’s doubles final.
Xu said: “I’m very honoured to be able to win both doubles medals, but honestly it feels a little incomplete for me having been knocked out early in the singles.”
On Friday, Xu and Korean teammate Yang Ha-eun won the mixed doubles title (http://sport-asia.com/table-tennis-china-korea-pair-up-for-rare-world-championships-title/).
On their way to the final, Xu and Zhang beat Chinese star Ma Long and Timo Boll of Germany, and Japanese duo Masataka Morizono and Yuya Oshima among other strong contenders for the crown.
Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia