PANAJI: He is no stranger to turning the tables when the odds are stacked against him. Liang Jingkun on Sunday lived up to the billing of a comeback king by surprising promising youngster Lin Shidong in an all-Chinese epic battle to win the men’s singles title at the WTT Star Contender Goa 2023.
Despite trailing 2-1 and conceding a huge 7-1 lead to his 17-year-old compatriot, Liang made multiple stunning comebacks in the next three games to seal the match 4-2 in an hour-long battle in front of a full house at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium.
Lin overpowered Liang consistently for a better part of the match. However, Liang was composed, especially in the crunch moments to seal the title and take home a cheque worth 10,000 USD and 600 ranking points.
In the fourth game, Lin led 10-7 and was on the verge of going 3-1 up, but Liang came up with a five-point winning streak to make it level at 2-2.
In the fifth game, Liang again found himself trailing 8-10, but his thundering forehand helped him seal the game with a four-point streak.
Lin’s shoulders appeared to be drooping as Liang raced to a 8-4 lead in the sixth. However, Lin came back to take the game down the wire. Eventually, it was a backhand error by Lin after a 15-shot rally that gave Liang the victory.
The World No. 7, however, did his best to play down his billing. “Since I was mentally strong, I could scrape through to a win. Even if you are down, the mindset is to make a comeback. You just have to stay positive,” Liang said.
Minutes earlier, Wang Yidi, the top seed, defeated Chinese Taipei’s giant-slayer Cheng I-Ching to win the women’s final in straight games.
Wang was just too quick for her unseeded opponent to wrap up the match in barely half an hour.
Cheng was second-time unlucky later in the evening as she and Li Yu-Jhun went down to Japan’s Miwa Harimoto and Miyu Nagasaki in the women’s doubles final.
Singles: Liang Jingkun (Chn) bt Lin Shidong (Chn) 11-6, 9-11, 10-12, 12-10, 12-10, 11-9.
Doubles: Cho Seungmin & An Jaehyun (Kor) bt Shunsuke Togami & Yukiya Uda (Jpn) 11-3, 9-11, 12-10, 11-4.
Singles; Wang Yidi (Chn) bt Cheng I-Ching (Tpe) 11-6, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4.
Doubles: Miwa Harimoto & Miyu Nagasaki (Jpn) bt Cheng I-Ching & Li Yu-Jhun (Tpe) 11-9, 11-7, 11-6.