Asian Cup: Lin comes of age with a stunning win against Fan

Lin Gaoyuan avenged his World Junior Championship final loss to world No. 2 Fan Zhendong in a thrilling six-game battle. In the women's final, Zhu Yuling prevailed against Liu Shewen in an hour-long clash.

Lin Gaoyuan adopted an aggressive strategy to down his fancied opponent Fan Zhendong.

For more than a dozen years, Lin Gaoyuan was considered the next big thing from the Chinese stable of table tennis. However, ever since losing the World Junior Championship final — his third successive summit clash — to compatriot Fan Zhendong, the stylish southpaw had failed to win a title on a big stage. The 22-year-old Lin couldn't have asked for a better occasion than the ITTF Asian Cup final here on Sunday, incidentally against the same opponent of the 2012 final, to break the hoodoo with an emphatic victory.

Riding on an aggressive strategy, Lin defeated his fancied rival Fan, the world No. 2, in an intense six-game affair, with the scoreline reading 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5. The women's final saw Zhu Yuling stunning Liu Shiwen, the most successful player in Asian Cup history, in a thrilling hour-long battle that went right down to the wire.

After that September night in 2012, when Lin couldn't convert a two-game advantage against Fan, the latter rose to world No. 2, while Lin has been in the second rung of Chinese paddlers. However, Lin made a strong statement about his abilities by consistently outsmarting Fan with his powerful forehand winners.

“This is my first final in five years. In the Chinese National Games (recently), I lost to Fan. Hence, I had a very good mindset and didn’t have too much of burden. I think I performed very well today in the match. I am very happy with my win,” said an elated Lin.

“Five years ago, the World Junior Championship was my last event in the juniors. I did attend many events after that, including the World Championships and Asian events and many ITTF World Tours, which gave me a lot of experience.”


Earlier, in the women's final, Yuling overcame four-time Cup winner Shiwen in a nerve-racking battle. The match saw the world No. 4 and 2 being involved in long rallies, which left a packed auditorium at The Arena by TransStadia mesmerised.



Final: Zhu Yuling (CHN) beat Liu Shiwen (CHN) 6-11, 11-9, 11-8, 10-12, 11-7, 11-13, 11-6.
Third position: Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN) beat Miu Hirano (JPN) 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 9-11, 11-8.


Final: Lin Gaoyuan (CHN) beat Fan Zhendong (CHN) 11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5, 11-5.
Third position: Lee Sangsu (KOR) beat Chen Chien-An (TPE) 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-3, 12-10.

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