Still in the early stages of her career, Wang Zhi Yi already evokes comparisons with better-known compatriot Chen Yu Fei, both for her physical similarity and her playing style.
With the world No.2 having won the Olympics gold, the comparisons are going to get more acute and the demands possibly higher for the 21-year-old.
“Many people have told me that I resemble her,” Wang said, after taking the third of China’s five points in their opening win over Canada.
“I do see similarities between the two of us, but everybody has his or her own style, so I also have mine. It’s not a conscious decision, but I do see similarities. I don’t have any idols. I just want to do my best and have my own style.”
Wang was making inroads at the senior level before the pandemic disrupted the circuit. She was in the quarterfinals of the PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2020 – she beat Ratchanok Intanon in the second round – and the semifinals of the DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2020 – where she got the better of Akane Yamaguchi and Sayaka Takahashi.
China have arrived with a team that has a mix of accomplished experienced players, and a few youthful stars. For Wang, who is playing her first major team event, it is a special occasion. Facing Rachel Chan of Canada, Wang was pushed hard in the opening game before powering through in the second.
“It’s my first game in the Uber Cup, so today was about getting used to the space, to the shuttle and arena, so I think I will do better in my next matches.
“I’m proud to be selected as part of the Chinese team. It’s the first time I’ve played in such a big tournament, and with the stress and challenge, it’s really good for my personal growth. I’ve been waiting for this for a while.
“There’s very tough competition to make the team. But for me it’s more simple – I look to myself, I try to overcome my own obstacles and be better as a person. Of course our goal is to win the Uber Cup again. I don’t feel the extra pressure, our coach just told us to focus on each game.”
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