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Sweet wins for China's rising star couple at Asian Cup

2010-03-29 13:37 BJT

GUANGZHOU, March 28 (Xinhua) -- China's teenage sensation Liu Shiwen claimed her first Asian Cup crown here on Sunday, just minutes before her boyfriend Zhang Jike pocketed the men's singles title on the same court.

The world championships bronze medalist Liu, who will turn 19 years old in two weeks, rallied past fellow Chinese Ding Ning 11-5, 11-2, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2 for the women's trophy.

Overwhelming in the first two sets, Liu met some strong challenges from Ding, especially on the latter's trademark services, but the Liaoning native, who moved to Guangdong province in her childhood, managed to again pull herself together in the fifth set.

"I told myself during the decisive fifth set that I must do well in receiving her serve with whatever method," said Liu. "I remember nothing but that and came over the difficulties eventually."

Trailing 3-0 in the sixth set, Ding called herself a timeout and came back to pull back a point on service, but Liu barely commit an error and played an 8-1 run to wrap up the match 11-5, 11-2, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2.

In the men's final, Zhang, who did not win a major event before, crushed Singapore's Gao Ning 11-9, 11-3, 11-6, 11-7 for the title.

"It took quite a lot of me to get on the top podium here," commented Zhang. "I qualified for the knockout stage after finishing second in my group ,and had to win over Olympic champion Ma Lin to make the semifinals. It's definitely not easy."

"After losing to Hong Kong's Ko Lai Chak in a group match, I said to myself, 'Be a man and nail the title!' And now I can say 'yeah, I made it!'" added the 20-year-old.

Earlier this month, Zhang just sealed a spot in the Chinese squad for May's World Team Championships in Moscow after winning the second trial of the national team.

Also on Sunday evening, Singapore's top woman paddler Feng Tian Wei and China's 20-year-old Xu Xin claimed the women's and men's singles bronze medals after each winning in straight sets.

Feng eased past former Chinese Seok Ha Jung, who has played for South Korea for three years, 11-7, 11-4, 11-9, 12-10, while the Shanghai native Xu saw off Hong Kong's Ko Lai Chak 11-5, 11-7, 11-3, 11-8.

The annual Asian Cup features top 16 men and women players and offers a total prize money of 120,000 U.S. dollars with the champions each pocketing 10,000 dollars.

Editor: Su Yu | Source: Xinhua