Korean Open: USA's Gao Jun wins Gold

The Architect and the Killer Clinch Women’s Doubles Gold in Korea

ITTF Press Release

The `Architect’ and the `Killer’, Gao Jun of the United States and Shen Yanfei of Spain won the Women’s Doubles crown at the Volkswagen Open Korea in Seongnam on Sunday 17th June 2007 beating the Japanese pairing of Ai Fujinuma and Ai Fukuhara in the final.

It was a contest between the third and fourth seeded pairs in the competition with the third seeds prevailing in impressive style.

They won 11-7, 13-11, 11-3, 11-8.

Path to Final
En route to the final they opened their account with a five games victory over the German duo of Zhenqi Barthel and Shen Yanfei (11-5, 11-9, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7) before recording a quarter-final success by the same margin over Austria’s Veronika Heine and Li Qiangbing (11-3, 11-2, 9-11, 6-11, 8-11).

A place in the semi-finals assured, they then rose to greater heights.

Straight Games
No more individual games were conceded, they beat a second German pairing in the guise of Elke Wosik and Wu Jiaduo in straight games (11-9, 11-9, 11-7, 11-9) to assure themselves of a place on the medal rostrum.

Japanese Progress
Meanwhile, Ai Fujinuma and Ai Fukuhara overcame Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and Wang Yue Gu in round one (11-6, 11-6, 11-5, 3-11, 4-11, 11-4) before accounting for Korea’s Kim Jung Hyun and Moon Hyun Jung (13-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-8) to secure a place in the penultimate round.

They then defeated second seeds Hong Kong’s Jiang Huajun and Tie Yana in a six games encounter, winning 11-4, 8-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 12-10).

Seeds Fall
A semi-final defeat for the number two seeds and there was an earlier than expected exit for the number one seeds.

Li Jia Wei and Sun Bei Bei lost in the opening round to Japan’s Hiroko Fujii and Saki Kanazawa, who in turn, suffered at the hands of Elke Wosik and Wu Jiaduo. Hiroko Fujii and Saki Kanazawa won 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-2, 11-9 whilst Elke Wosik and Wu Jiaduo prevailed 11-8, 7-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9.

Different Styles
The victory of Gao Jun and Shen Yanfei underlines the fact that there is more than one way to play table tennis and that players with two very contrasting styles can combine very effectively.

Gao Jun is right handed, penhold grip, short pimples using one side of the racket only; in the partnership she is the `architect’. Outstanding skilful at creating wide angles and returning the ball short, minimising the opportunities for her opponents to attack, she is the perfect foil for a more aggressive partner.

Shen Yanfei is left handed, shakehands grip, short pimples on the forehand and reversed rubber on the backhand. She is the `killer’ in the partnership; her fast forehand with minimal topspin is exploited after Gao Jun has made the opening. Furthermore, as she partners a right hander she can execute that forehand time and again.

Chance Meeting
The pair first played together quite by chance.

Neither had a partner for the Women’s Doubles event at the TMS Chinese Taipei Open in 2005; there was no-one else so they played together. They did rather well considering they’d never played together before, they won the tournament!

Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals
Following a semi-final place at the Volkswagen Open China and a quarter-final spot at the Swedish Open they qualified for the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals and duly won the title. In 2006 they succeeded at the Panasonic China Open, again they qualified for the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals and finished in runners up spot.

In 2007, success has come their way again; it would seem that they are once again on course to qualify for the Women’s Doubles event at the Volkswagen Pro Tour Grand Finals and a place on the medal rostrum would appear a distinct possibility.

Image: Shen Yanfei (left) is the `Killer', Gao Jun (right) is the `Architect'.

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