2017 Asian Championships-Chinese Supremacy Threatened

18
Apr

Miu Hirano of Japan became only the 4th non-Chinese Asian Champion and the youngest ever winner in the tournament’s history! (Courtesy ITTF)

The 2017 Asian Championships took place this past weekend in Wuxi, China with 17-year old Miu Hirano of Japan upsetting 3 Chinese players in the quarters, semis, and finals to win the women’s singles! She beat double Olympic gold medalist Ding Ning in the quarters after saving 5 match points. Then Hirano beat Ding Ning’s teammates Zhu Yuling and Chen Meng both 3-0 to become the first Japanese Asian champion in 21 years.

Last year, Hirano came to Philadelphia and won the Women’s World Cup but there were no Chinese women players present. She became the youngest World Cup winner and her final match was televised live on ESPN. 

In the men’s singles, double Rio Olympic Champion Ma Long, who was nearly upset by Korea’s Jeong Sang in a previous World Tour, was upset by him this time in the men’s singles. This was Ma’s first loss to a non-Chinese player in 3 years. Ma Long’s teammate and Rio Olympic Team Champion Xu Xin was upset by Japanese Koki Niwa who would go on to narrowly lose to Jeong in the semis. Fan Zhendong of China became men’s singles champion beating Jeong comfortably in the final.

Highlights of Women’s Singles Quarters between 2016 World Cup Champion Miu Hirano and 2016 Olympic Champion Ding Ning: