The reigning world champion, Ding Ning, has become Olympic champion, after she put her nightmares from the final at London 2012 to rest, with a sensational 4-3 victory over Li Xiaoxia at Rio 2016 women’s singles final.
Li Xiaoxia was again the opponent for Ding in an all-Chinese final, but this time it was the reverse outcome as Ding stood victorious.
The bronze medal was won by DPR Korea’s Kim Song I following her birthday defeat of Japan’s Ai Fukuhara.
Li went into the final having won all four of her Rio 2016 matches in straight game whitewashes, including her semi-finals victory over Ai Fukuhara.
Ding would have shared the exact same record had it not been for Kim Song I who lost 4-1 in their last four tie, stealing a consolation game in the process.
Much to the bemusement of the two finalists, proceedings didn’t go exactly according to plan as the match ball shattered about half way through the warm up. But a replacement ball was found almost straightaway and the players swung into action.
Ding made a great start to the opening game at the Riocentro – Pavilion 3 moving 9-3 in front, however, Li managed to claw herself back into the game taking five consecutive points to close the gap. All of a sudden, Ding looked under all sorts of pressure and fault served at 10-8, but she held on to go 1-0 ahead (11-9).