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Olympic champ Ding reaches World Cup final, happy for self-improvement
CHENGDU, Sept. 30 -- Olympic and world champion Ding Ning said she felt even happier to see herself making improvement through competitions after an easy semifinal victory at the ITTF women's World Cup in Chendu, Southwest China on Sunday.
The 28-year-old, twice title holder in 2011 and 2014, set up an all-Chinese final against defending champion Zhu Yuling after she eased past Japanese top female paddler Kasumi Ishikawa 11-7, 11-5, 11-3, 11-9.
"I didn't expect such a quick victory over Ishikawa," said Ding at the post-match mixed zone. "I'd prepared for a tough game since she is a very strong opponent."
"For me, it's more deeply satisfying to have found the way out of my low status recently, rather than to have won a match," Ding added.
In this year's World Tours, the 28-year-old table tennis Grand Slam winner of Olympic Games, world championships and World Cup twice lost to younger teammate Chen Meng and was also beaten by Wang Manyu and Liu Shiwen.
"I've experienced far more difficulties this year than what the others could have seen," said Ding. "And right now I'm quite happy that I've beat all those challenges and become a better myself."
Also on Sunday morning, the top seed Zhu, who's ranked world No. 1 for the moment, denied a mid-game comeback from Cheng I-Ching, beating the No. 4 seed from Chinese Taipei 11-6, 11-4, 11-13, 11-5, 11-8 to reach the final.