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Table Tennis News and Reviews » Blog Archive » Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa Thrill Berlin Crowd to Clinch Gold

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  • 22Mar

    Japan’s Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa won their second career ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Doubles title when, in the cauldron of the Max Smeling Halle in Berlin, they beat the Chinese duo of Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan in a tense full distance seven games final at the German Open on Sunday 21st March 2010.

    It was a contest that captivated the crowd as the Japanese duo established a lead before time and again their Chinese adversaries recovered. Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa won a nerve tingling duel 11-3, 11-13, 12-10, 9-11, 11-2, 11-8. The one previous ITTF Pro Tour Women’s Doubles title won by Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa had been in 2009 in Morocco.


    Kasumi Ishikawa (left) and Ai Fukuhara (right) victorious at the German Open  Photo By: Ireneusz Kanabrodzki


    Young Final
    A hard fought final it must have been one of the youngest when ages were considered in the history of Women’s Doubles finals.

    Over the years Ai Fukuhara as usually been the junior player, many years the junior player! The mind goes back to 2003 when at the age of 14 she reached the quarter-final stage of the Women’s Singles event at the Liebherr World Championships in Paris.

    Senior Lady
    In the Women’s Doubles final at the 2010 German Open she was the senior city and by two years!

    Kasumi Ishikawa is only 16 years old whilst Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan are only 19 years of age.

    One Way Traffic
    The first game was over in a flash, was Ding Ning suffering mental exhaustion after her battle against Wu Yang which had finished some 30 minutes earlier?

    Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa could do nothing wrong, Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan could do nothing right. It was one way traffic.

    Recovery
    However, in the second game, Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan settled to the task as the entertainment value with fast exchanges increased. Consistently talking to each other, encouraging each other, determining tactics; the Chinese duo established a 9-7 lead.

    Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa responded to level at 9-all but never held a game point; they saved two but eventually the consistency of the Chinese pair prevailed.

    Reverse Situation
    In the third game it was to some extent the reverse scenario.

    The Japanese duo led 10-8, Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan saved two game points but never had one of their own; it was advantage Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa.

    Time Out
    A close defeat, the Chinese duo came out in the fourth game like injured tigers.

    They establish a 5-1 lead and appeared to be on the roads to levelling proceedings with a degree of ease; however, Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa were in no mood for surrender, they fought to reduce the arrears to one point at 8-7.

    The Chinese camp called “Time Out”; it stopped the rot; Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan had to fight, they won the game. It was parity.

    Reversal Again
    Once again there was a reversal of proceedings; it was the fifth game was the first game revisited.

    Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa surrendered just two points!

    Certainly the order of Ai Fukuhara receiving from Ding Ning and directing her fast attacks towards Li Xiaodan was paying dividends as was the situation with Kasumi Ishikawa against Ding Ning. Left hander to left hander, it appeared to make it more difficult for Ding Ning to execute her rapid fire forehand.

    Recovery Again
    In the sixth game it was the reverse order, the one that had favoured the Chinese in two close games.

    It proved to be the same again; a seventh game beckoned.

    Seventh Game
    Tense moments with the Japanese duo ahead 5-3 at the change of ends; the crowd warmed to the efforts of Ai Fukuhara and Kasumi Ishikawa as they extended the lead to 7-3 and they were quick to advise the scorer in the corner when he turned the numbers to 6-4!

    Ding Ning and Li Xiaodan reduced the deficit to 7-5; Japan called “Time Out”.

    Victory
    The Japanese pair maintained the advantage at 9-8 when Ding Ning served into the net.

    Match point to Japan, it was duly converted; a possible Chinese clean sweep had been averted; the crowd of almost 5,000 was delighted, they applauded the Japanese duo to the rafters.

    Source: ittf.com

    Posted by ttfan @ 8:56 am

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