Shu extends lead and Lay defends title
December 8, 2019
The ITTF Oceania Tour | Australia has concluded with New Zealand’s Dean Shu and Australia’s Jian Fang Lay claiming top honours in some of the best matches on tour this year.
After suffering a defeat on Friday in the Oceania Olympic Team Qualifications, New Zealand’s Dean Shu and Nathan Xu avenged their earlier loss against Australia to make it an all New Zealand affair in the Men’s Singles final. In a repeat of the 2019 ITTF-Oceania Tour | New Caledonia Dean Shu faced off Nathan Xu in a showdown for the title. In a closely fought match, which captured the crowd’s attention and ended the tournament on a high note, Shu was able to once again hold off his teammate and win the Men’s Singles title 4-3 (-10,7,-3,7,9,-7,10). It was a strong performance from Shu, having survived a seven-game quarterfinal scare against Australia’s Xavier Dixon earlier in the day.
“My mind is still racing. That was a really tough match and Nathan played really well, he was so strong, played many good forehands and was leading throughout the last set, I’m surprised I could come out with the win. I was 7-9 down in the seventh and I’m glad I could pull through in the end. I’m really excited to qualify for my third Oceania Cup next year and try to give it another shot for a spot at the 2020 Men’s World Cup.” – Dean Shu
With the win Shu has extended his lead at the top of the tour standings, sitting well clear of the other contenders as the only player to have won two tour events this year and guarantee his spot at the 2020 ITTF Oceania Cup.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Australia’s Dominic Huang made his Oceania tour debut in style where he caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament defeating Australia’s Kane Townsend 4-3 in a dominant display of table tennis to reach the semi-finals where he ultimately lost to Nathan Xu.
In the Women’s singles, Jian Fang Lay defended her title, defeating teammate Michelle Bromley in the final. Bromley opened the match with a strong lead, playing at a fast pace and creating sharp angles. After a few tight sets at the beginning, Lay’s years of experience came through and she was able to see off the challenge from Bromley, winning the match 4-1 (-7,13, 6, 6, 4). It was a solid performance from Lay all weekend, after qualifying for Team events at next year’s Olympic Games, she cruised through her earlier matches without dropping a single set. Lay now joins the ITTF Oceania Tour leaderboard, bagging 1000 points and is well on the path to qualifying for the 2020 Oceania Cup.
It was an all Australian affair in the doubles events with 17-year-old Parleen Kaur claiming both the Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles titles with Kane Townsend and Charmaine Quah respectively. Fiji but up a tough fight in the Women’s doubles with the combination of Sally Yee and Grace Yee just missing out on gold. The Yee sisters started the match with a strong 2-0 lead, however, they were ultimately unsuccessful with the Aussies fighting their way back to win 11-9 in the 5th set.
With only one more stop on the 2019 ITTF Oceania Tour, Tonga will be player’s last chance to grab precious ranking points to qualify for the 2020 Oceania Cup.