‘Fantastic pairing’ Jeon Ji-hee, Shin Yubin reach World Table Tennis Championship final

The Korean national table tennis team’s women’s doubles pairing of Jeon Jeon-hee (31, Mirae Asset Securities) and Shin Yoo-bin (19, Korean Air) defeated the world’s strongest team, the Great Wall of China, to reach the World Championship final. It has been 36 years since Korea’s women’s doubles team reached a World Championship final since 1987.

The 12th-ranked pair of Jeon Jeon Hee-Shin Yubin secured at least a silver medal with a 3-0 (11-7 11-9 11-6) victory over world No. 1 Sun Yingxia-Wang Manyu (CHINA) in the women’s doubles quarterfinals of the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Championships at the Durban International Convention Center (DICC) in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday.

With this victory, Jeon Jeon-hee-Shin Yubin became the first women’s doubles finalist in 36 years, joining Yang Young-ja and Hyun Jung-hwa at the 1987 New Delhi Games. The pair also won the gold medal in that final. Having already clinched the title of the first women’s doubles medal at the World Championships in 12 years by reaching the quarterfinals, the duo will be looking for their first gold medal in 36 years.

The women’s doubles final between Jeon Jeon-hee and Shin Yubin will take place on Sunday at 18:30 local time (1:30 a.m. ET on Monday). They will face China’s Chen Meng (29)-Wang Yidi (26), who are ranked seventh in the world. The 12th-ranked pair of Jeon Jeon-hee and Shin Yoo-bin may be ranked lower, but if they can keep up the momentum from their win over the world No. 1 pair, they should be able to beat them.

The pair started well, taking the first game against the world’s best. With the score at 6-5, they played solid defense to force their opponents into errors. With several balls going out or hitting the net, they were able to widen the gap and win 11-7.

Game 2 started with five consecutive errors, but the team fought back to win the game. The Koreans rallied back with four straight points, including an opponent attack out, a net hit, and a successful attack by Jeon Jeon-hee. After the Chinese took the lead안전놀이터, the Koreans fought back to tie the game at 7-8, and Wang Man-yu’s backhand hit the net to finally tie the game at 8-8. Jeon Jeon-hee and Shin Yoo-bin continued to communicate during the match and evened the score.

With the score tied at 9-9, Jeon scored two consecutive points. Her drive hit the corner of the opponent’s table to make it 10-9, and after a long rally, she scored another attack to take the game. In the stands, local Koreans chanted “Korea” and “3-0” to cheer them on.

Photo courtesy of the Korea Table Tennis Association
In the third game, Jeon Jeon-hee and Shin Yubin took a 3-1 lead and China called a timeout to try and stem the tide. The Koreans maintained the gap and pulled to 5-3, but consecutive errors gave them a 5-6 lead.

The score was tied again at 6-6 when Jeon Jeon-hee’s attack hit the corner of the opponent’s table and the ball was caught in the net. After a long rally in which both players exchanged blows left and right, Jeon hit one drive after another. Jeon raised her arms in victory, and Shin Yubin cheered. With momentum in their favor, South Korea never dropped a point from that point on, ending the match 11-6.

“I still can’t believe it, I don’t know what’s going on, it’s like a dream. It was my dream to reach the final once, and I’m so grateful to my partner, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me today.” Shin Yubin said, “I successfully executed the things I prepared with my sister,” adding, “It’s so nice to have a good result.”