China wins 4th straight women's title at table tennis worlds
China defeated Japan 3-1 to claim its fourth consecutive women's title at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden on Saturday.
Chinese table tennis player Ding Ning plays at the Women's finals of World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad Arena, Halmstad, Sweden , May 5, 2018. [Photo: VCG]
The Chinese team, featuring veterans Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen and 23-year-old Zhu Yuling, confronted the tournament's No.2 seed represented by captain Ishikawa Kasumi and a pair of teenagers - Hirano Miu and Ito Mima.
The final opened with 27-year-old Liu losing to Ito, who played an extremely aggressive game.
With one set down, Liu won the second and third sets, before Ito pulled the Chinese into the deciding fifth set.
Ito saved two match points and nailed two more shots to put Japan one game up.
Captain Ding Ning equalized the score by routing Hirano Miu 11-6, 12-10, 13-11.
World No. 2 Zhu then breezed past No. 3 ranked Japanese captain Ishikawa 11-4, 11-7, 11-8.
Liu completed China's 3-1 victory and secured the country's 21st world women's team championship by beating Hirano 11-6, 11-6, 12-10.
"The title is very precious," said Ding. "I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to the success."