Key Psychological Moments In the 2021 World Championship Women’s Singles Finals

Before the women’s singles finals at the 2021 World Championships, Chinese National Team member Zhou Yu predicted that the since Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha were very evenly matched, the result would ultimately come down to a psychological battle. In this post we list several key psychological moments that Zhou identified in the women’s singles finals of the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships. A much more detailed breakdown of the match and the link to the original match can be found here.

  1. After initially trailing 10-6 in the first game, Sun Yingsha went for a wide cross-court forehand flick to Wang’s forehand while down 10-7. This changed the tide of the game as Sun now held serve down 10-8. Wang would go on to poorly return two short forehand serves from Sun, who would go on to come back and win 13-11.
  2. In the second game, Wang Manyu got a lucky ball to tie the score at 6-6. Zhou said that this helped calm Wang down, as she went on to take the second game 11-7.
  3. In the third game, Sun went up 6-2 after countering hard against some of Wang’s weaker short backhand openings. Wang was able to close the gap to 6-5 after pushing the short forehand ball more and waiting for better opportunities for a stronger opening. Wang then tried another short backhand opening at 6-5, that Sun was again able to handle very well with a well-placed block followed by a quick counter. Zhou stated that Wang may have been better off waiting until 6-6 to take this shot, as Sun would presumably have been more mentally tight (without the lead) and would not have been able to play the hard shots that she did.
  4. The sixth game went to deuce, during which the quality of play dropped quite noticeably. The length of rallies were shorter, and both players struggled with serve return. Sun Yingsha ultimately lost the deuce to a missed push on the serve return.
  5. Wang was a bit more lucky throughout the match, including a net-ball when down 15-14 in the sixth game.

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