South Korea’s men’s doubles team failed to reach the final of the Pyeongchang 2023 Asian Table Tennis Championships after suffering back-to-back defeats against the ‘strongest’ Chinese pair.
World No. 1 Jang Woo-jin and Lim Jong-hoon (KEUR) fell 1-3 (11-6 5-11 8-11 7-11) to Marong and Wang Chuqin (China – unranked) in the men’s doubles semifinals on day seven of the tournament at the Pyeongchang Dome in Gangwon Province on Monday.
In the earlier semifinal, Ahn Jae-hyun (Korea Exchange)-Park Kang-hyun (Korea Water Resources Corporation) (unranked) lost 1-3 (9-11 11-9 6-11 7-11) to China’s Fan Zhen-dong-Ling Gaoyuan (unranked).
With the loss, South Korea did not reach the final in the men’s doubles and took home two bronze medals.
It was their fourth and fifth medals of the tournament, following the silver in the women’s team, bronze in the men’s team, and mixed doubles bronze for Lim Jong-hoon and Shin Yubin (Korean Air).
After being “wiped out” in the round of 16 in the men’s and women’s singles the previous day, both men’s doubles pairs were stopped by the “Great Wall of China” today, leaving Korea to compete in the women’s doubles semifinals with Shin Yubin-Jeon Hee (Mirae Asset Securities).
The women’s doubles semifinals and final will be played on back-to-back days.
With two gold medals in the men’s and women’s team events, China has also booked gold in the men’s doubles. China has also filled the women’s singles semifinal and mixed doubles final brackets with Chinese players, securing at least five of the seven gold medals at the Games.
China fielded new combinations of men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles teams at the tournament, rather than traditional top-ranked players.
That’s why most of the Chinese doubles teams were unranked by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) doubles rankings.
However, the Chinese pairs, comprised of some of the best players in singles, upset a number of Asian doubles powerhouses, including South Korea, to reach the final.
On the day, Zhang Wujin and Lim Jonghun took the first game comfortably, capitalizing on a series of unforced errors by the out-of-sync Marung and Wang Chuqin.
However, the second game was different. Marung, considered the “GOAT” of table tennis, and Wang Chuqin, touted as the next ace of the Chinese men’s national team, never let up in the second set and swept through three games in a row.
In the final, Fan Zhendong and Ling Gaoyuan defeated Marong and Wang Chuchin 3-2 (11-9 4-11 11-9 11-13 11-8) to top the podium.
In the women’s singles final, No. 5 Wang Manyu defeated No. 1 Sun Yingxia 3-2 (10-12 11-7 11-8 5-11 11-5).
It was Wang Manyu’s first singles title at the Asian Championships.
Wang Manyu, 24, and Sun Yingxia, 22, are two of the top rivals in women’s table tennis.
In recent international tournaments, Sun Yingxia has had a clear advantage over Wang Manyu, winning three straight matches, but this time Wang Manyu fought back.
Wang Manyu has narrowed the gap in their career head-to-head record to 8 wins and 9 losses.
Wang Manyu made her debut on the adult international stage at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, winning the gold medal in singles.
With this victory, Wang Manyu has a chance to win back-to-back titles at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which are just 10 days away. 안전놀이터