by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

A different partner this year, she joins forces with Sun Yingsha, the duo forming a combination which is becoming a potent force.

Impressively, on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, they emerged successful in Japan beating Korea’s Jeon Jihee and Yang Haeun in the final, prior to succeeding in Austria when accounting for Japan’s Honoka Hashimoto and Hitoma Sato in the title decider.

In fact, Chen Xingtong is proving a most valued doubles partner. On the ITTF World Junior Circuit in 2012 she partnered Chen Ke to Girls’ Doubles victory on home soil in China, the following year she secured the top prize in Hong Kong when combining with Jing Yue. Later, in 2014 she succeeded alongside Liu Gaoyang at the Wisdom World Junior Championships in Shanghai.

Furthermore, she has enjoyed Mixed Doubles success. She won with Wang Chuqin at the 2015 World Junior Championships in La Roche sur Yon, before last year in Wuxi emerging successful with Zhou Yu at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF Asian Championships.

Additionally, Chen Xingtong ended last year by winning the Women’s Singles event in Sweden before reaching the semi-final stage in Astana at the Grand Finals.

Now is Chen Xingtong on the brink of reaching the highest echelons? There are several hurdles to be crossed but now 20 years old, is she making progress at exactly the right time?

She played in two World Junior Championships but never reached the Girls’ Singles final; on both occasions losing to colleagues. In 2014 she lost to Chen Ke in the quarter-finals, one year later to Wang Yidi in the penultimate round.

Defeats but Chen Xingtong can take heart, at the first ever World Junior Championships staged in 2003 in Santiago, a certain Li Xiaoxia was beaten at the semi-final stage by colleague Li Qian (not the same player who now represents Poland), the eventual champion.

Notably, it was at a similar age to Chen Xingtong that Li Xiaoxia blossomed on the ITTF World Tour; in 2008, the year in which she was 20 years old, Li Xiaoxia won in Singapore and Shanghai, whilst also securing the Women’s World Cup title. Additionally, the previous year she had won at the Grand Finals.

At the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open, Chen Xingtong is the no.9 seed in the Women’s Singles event, with Sun Yingsha, the third seed in the Women’s Doubles competition.

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