zhang yiman e5bca0e889bae69bbc

Zhang Yiman (张艺曼)


I have a feeling Zhang Yiman’s 2021 World Championship form is coming back – the way she played Marin these two weeks, losing the first where I thought she actually played better than Marin but mishandled the crucial stage , and then avenging that defeat in the second meeting in an intense, close hard-fought battle, winning in three sets by the identical score of 19-21,21-19, and 21-19, a thrilling match defeating the top seed, Carolina Marin, in the QFs of the Hylo Open S300, to advance to the SFs.

In the semis, ZYM didn’t disappoint, she went on to beat the former world champ, Nozomi Okuhara, who’s also on the comeback trail as Marin, in an exciting well-played match interspersed with some breathtaking shots, winning in two convincing straight sets by the score of 21-18, 21-17. It’s this second of the two consecutive tournaments that her performance more or less instilled my belief of ZYM regaining her previous best form reached when at the semifinals of the 2021 Huelva WC, she pushed the eventual world champion, Akane Yamaguchi, to the limit before conceding the match in two hard-fought sets by the identical score of 21-19, even leading for the better part of G2 until the last lap.

In conclusion, it’s still very much my expressed wish to see Zhang Yiman follow in the footsteps of her illustrious senior compatriot, Zhang Ning, a rare and phenomenal late bloomer, who started to peak late in her career , playing her very best badminton in her late twenties and early thirties, an age when most women’s singles are considered to be in their tail end or twilight years but not for Zhang Ning, who clinched her maiden world title in 2003 at age 27, then followed by two Olympic golds in 2004 and 2008, at age 28 and 32 respectively.

Well, let’s see if Zhang Yiman, now age 25, born 15 January, 1997,has what it takes to emulate the truly exceptional feat of Zhang Ning, a remarkable late bloomer, in the years to come. I hope so.

Wish Zhang Yiman every success going forward. JiaYou !