It was to be a clash of the USA's finest as two Olympic athletes met on the table in the final of the Women's Singles at the 2017 NCTTA South Regional Championships. To have two such athletes competing in the NCTTA is an exciting prospect for certain and to see them compete in a final was fantastic. Both players representing Texas Wesleyan had joined arms in the team event on Day 1 and now stood against each other on the table for victory.
Wang Chen with 30 years of table tennis experience as a top professional player, most notable a quarter-finalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the women's singles, but also a winner of many singles titles on the international tour as a member of the Chinese National Team including the champion of the 1997 Asian Cup Women's Singles title. No doubt an impressive resume of table tennis achievements.
Building more top results in more recent years is of course Wu Yue (Jennifer), competing in her first Olympics in Rio 2016 after winning gold at the 2015 Pan American Games as an unseeded player. She also won the 2016 North American Cup and recently returned from professional competition in France.
After cruising through the earlier rounds with a seemingly unlimited resource of technical and tactical prowess, both players reached the semifinal where they would face Caroline Kajihara and Edina Haracic. Despite the step up in competition it was plain sailing for the two Olympians who were determined to capture gold.
Wang Chen's incredible performance on Day 1 in the team final didn't seem to show up to the table in the singles final but in the beginning she held her own, drawing the match up at 1-1 after Wu took an early lead. It was Jennifer however who looked to initiate and be the aggressor more and she controlled the pace in most of the rallies and also took the more dominant placement positions. This approach paid off as Wu's attacking shots mixed to the body, down the forehand line and sometimes wider into the short pips backhand of Wang. While the more experienced Wang Chen played some great rallies and some fantastic counters it was Jennifer Wu who pulled away and sealed the scoreline 3-1, taking the regional crown (11-7, 6-11, 11-5, 11-6).
Great to see more Olympians in action in the NCTTA competition with the two Texas Wesleyan women battling it out, of course another 2016 Rio Olympian Timothy Wang was the winner of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Men's Singles.
Check out the full NCTTA Results Page.
2017 NCTTA South Regional Singles Qualification Video Stream