China has unbeaten first day at ITTF World Tour event in Australia

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-05 09:08:12|Editor: ZD
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By Will Koulouris

SYDNEY, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Open of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Seamaster 2017 World Tour, kicked off on the Gold Coast on Tuesday, with the Chinese players going unbeaten on the first day of play.

The morning action saw Chen Xingtong and Wang Manyu take out their women's doubles matchup in straight sets, winning 3-0, in a thrilling display of dominance.

The afternoon matchups saw the Chinese players continue their run of victories, with Chen winning 4-1 over Ishikawa Kasumi of Japan, while Wang downing Sato Hitomi of Japan in straight sets.

Zhu Yuling also shone in the midday rounds, and did not skip a beat on her way to a commanding 4-0 victory over Kim Kyungah of South Korea.

In the evening games, former 2011 women's world junior champion Chen Meng needed barely any time at all to beat her compatriot from Chinese Taipei, Cheng Hsien-Tzu, without dropping a set, while Zhang Qiang also put on a scintillating performance to down Ito Mima from Japan, 4-1.

The Chinese sweep ended with a come from behind victory from Gu Yuting, who took over the match after being 2-1 down, to storm home with a 4-2 victory over Miu Hirano of Japan.

At the event, Steve Danton, the interim chief executive of the ITTF told Xinhua that it is an "interesting time for the sport" and that there have been a lot of changes to the game in recent years, some of those having been frowned upon by critics.

"I think in the future going forward there will be a lot more emphasis on the commercial aspect of table tennis. We also see that shift in the big powerhouses - like China, Japan and Germany," Danton said.

"We will see a lot of changes especially in terms of how our events are structured and organised, and how that can help us to grow financially as an international organisation."

A restructuring of the world championships to make them a more viable event is also on the cards, according to the new chief, who said that the TTX format of the game is still in its infancy.

"It needs to get off the ground and rolled out around the world. Even though you could say that it TTX is an innovation, there is still a long way to go until it becomes a major part of the table tennis world," Danton said.

"But we don't want to forget our beautiful sport that we have already, helping it grow, and take the professional side of table tennis also to the next level."

The dominance of China in the table tennis world is often discussed by many in the sport, and Danton said that recent changes to the game were not done with the intent to level the playing field against the long dominant Chinese competitors.

"It is a new era in table tennis, there is a new administration in table tennis now, and I think the relationship between the ITTF and China in recent times is as strong as it has ever been," Danton said.

"I believe the only way to work on that, is to work on it together with the Chinese association, and the Chinese table tennis industry."

"If we can work on that together then for both sides it will be a win-win situation," he added.

Danton was adamant that he sees a bright future for the sport, and stressed that he feels that game, particularly the commercial side, had been "stagnant" for a number of years.

"There are other similar sized sports to table tennis that are flying ahead with some reforms and changes, that if we can do the same, we can catch up with those sports," Danton said.

"The great thing about our sport is that everyone has played table tennis - or ping pong - at some level and everybody understands it."

"Now it's just to take it really fully to the market, and if we can do that I think the potential is incredible for our sport and the ITTF," he added.