SINGAPORE — They’ve been an on-and-off combination since the 2019 Austrian Open, but Fan Zhendong and Wang Chuqin’s men’s doubles partnership hasn’t really taken off. At the World Table Tennis Championships last November, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
That all changed in the US$2m (S$2.71m) World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smash, when they claimed their biggest title as a duo after beating world No. Japan’s Yukiya Uda and Shunsuke Togami 3-1 (12-10, 12-10, 12-14, 11-7) in the men’s doubles final at OCBC Arena on Friday night (March 18).
After receiving a check for $12,000, Wang, who won the mixed doubles final with compatriot Sun Yingsha on Thursday, said, “We can still improve, but with such a result, we can have more confidence in our abilities as a duo. .
“Of course, having world No.1s as partners gives me more confidence, but whether we will continue as a duo depends on the coaches.”
China’s strength in depth means they can afford to experiment with different combinations for competitions – Fan teamed up with Xu Xin, while Wang teamed up with Liang Jingkun at the recent WTT Contender Muscat – but that can mean they don’t have as much chemistry as some of the more established couples.
In Friday’s final, there were moments when Fan and Wang, ranked 33rd, left gaps for World Championship bronze medalists Uda and Togami, both 20, to exploit as They were pushed hard in the first three games, but managed to find a breakthrough.
Fan, who will face Uda in the men’s singles semi-finals on Saturday, said: “It takes more than practice to build a partnership and we didn’t achieve what we expected at the World Championships so this Victory is sweet as this competition is of a similar level.”
Fans were treated to some spectacular table tennis earlier in the evening as the two All China Women’s Singles Semi-Finals went the distance.