Injured Wang Manyu Sweeps Chen Meng and Sun Yingsha to Win China National Games

Despite suffering a leg injury the day before, Wang Manyu swept both of the Olympic finalists to win the gold medal at the China National Games. Although the quality of play in Wang’s semi-final match with Chen was relatively bad, Wang and Sun were both able to put on a decent display in the finals. Although the Wang beat Sun 4-0, the scores in each individual game was close, and with a little bit of luck Sun could have been the one winning 4-0.

Wang getting ice on her legs the day before.
Wang Manyu with various wrappings on her leg during the semi-finals and finals

Post-game, Wang said that she felt that the championship was very difficult even though the last two matches were 4-0. Sun was gracious and acknowledged that Wang outplayed her, especially on some of the smaller details. However, she also noted that if she had taken one of the first three games, the result may have been very different down the road.

We present a full recap below.

Game 1

In the first game, neither player led by more than two points throughout the whole game. Wang won just enough critical rallies, including an impressive block at 4-3 against what was supposed to be a down-the-line forehand winner from Sun.

Game 2

Sun Yingsha led 5-2, but Wang responded with a three-point streak of her own, including another impressive block against a would-be winner to tie it up at 5-5. Wang was ultimately able to pull ahead after winning two critical backhand-backhand rallies at 8-8 to go up 10-8. After Sun won the next point with a pretty forehand flick and follow-up kill to the wide backhand to make it 10-9, Wang stepped around for a down-the-line forehand winner with a kick of sidespin that Sun was unable to touch, taking the game 11-9.

Game 3

Sun went up 3-0 with a wide backhand kill followed up by two slower spins to the elbow that Wang missed. Sun went to the elbow again on the next point, but Wang managed to step around and land a forehand counterloop back down the middle that Sun missed, stopping Sun’s win streak at three points. 

Sun went back up 4-1, and then Wang won the next two points, including a net ball at 4-2, to make it 4-3. Sun then made the interesting decision to call time-out. After the time-out, Sun was able to hold on and take a game point at 10-9. Sun then got a net on a short push, but Wang saved the net ball, and Sun rushed to kill Wang’s save and ended up missing her backhand kill attempt, leveling the score at deuce.

Wang went up 11-10, but Sun saved a game point herself by saving a net ball and then winning an ensuing long rally. However, Wang ultimately won the game 14-12 after stepping around at 13-12 and landing two big forehand loops that Sun was unable to handle.

Game 4

The quality of play was high in game 4, and the results also happened to be quite streaky. Wang opened the game on a 3-0 off of two pretty rallies. Sun then won six straight points before Wang caught an edge ball to make the score 6-4 in favor of Sun. Sun won one more point to make it 7-4, and then Sun won the next seven points in a row in a variety of ways: two backhand kill shots wide to Sun’s former corner, three missed loops from Sun, an edge ball, and a short push exchange at match point.

Liu Shiwen Takes Bronze Against Injured Chen Meng

Chen Meng apparently was also injured and looked extremely off in her loss to Wang and went on to lose her bronze-medal match to Liu Shiwen as well. After the bronze medal match, Liu said that Chen was completely not herself today and was quite concerned with Chen’s injury. Down 2-1 and 10-3 (in a three out of five), Chen gave up on the match and played an exhibition point with Liu.

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