Lily Zhang and Wu Yue have continued their stellar run in the Women's Doubles event at the 2017 Leibherr ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany. As the crowds grow and the focus shrinks to a select few tables in the main hall, the match quality is on its way up and we are in for some amazing table tennis. Team USA had all the momentum after some unbelievable performances in the tournament so far.
Going into the morning of Day 4 of the World Championships the two girls still remained in the doubles, as well as both Lily and Kanak being left in the singles draws. Lily and Jennifer would face off in the round of 16 of the Women's Doubles, after having displayed some excellent results already (read more). Their opponents were Mo Zhang of Canada and Sofia Polvanova from Austria, both experienced players with a great amount of skill and so far having proved their ability in doubles, overcoming Mittelham and Silbereisen of Germany in the previous round.
It was a promising start for the Americans as they locked out game one in deuce. All of the games in this match were immensely closely fought and both teams were constantly on their toes. The tactics at play were clear, Lily Zhang led with hand signals on receive, placement was key.
The mixed nation pair would fight back to take game two, Mo Zhang displaying some great shots with her short pimple forehand. There were a number of superb rallies and it was clear that both teams were focused very strongly on where they were placing the ball on the table. USA were controlling well but every now and then their opponents would create a space and catch them out wide.
There were nervous moments as coach Jorg Bitzigeio sat on the bench and USATT CEO Gordon Kaye sat enthusiastically in the front row of the nearby seating, along with player parents and supporters who urged Lily and Jennifer on. Nail biting exchanges would follow point after point with Jennifer and Lily closing out the next two games by the narrowest of margins, both 11-9. At this point they held a 3-1 lead but the race was not over. They had not won these games without significant challenge, you had to feel despite the scoreline that the match was still a very open battle.
Showing great range and combinations of speed and spin, close table and further back, body shots and wide balls, all 4 players in the court delivered some fantastic table tennis. The game drew to deuce and the pressure to close out the match fell upon the US players. The crowd of spectators took a keen interest in the last match playing in the hall as USA looked to book their place in the last 8.
They did just that, missing a couple of conversion chances but eventually taking out game 5 by 15-13 to win the match.
A brilliant effort by Jennifer and Lily, they will go on to compete in the quarterfinals against China's Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling.
WOMEN'S DOUBLES MAIN DRAW