54-year-old Ni Xialian Wins Longest Table Tennis Match in Modern HistoryPhoto: ITTF
54-year-old NI Xialian (LUX) has made history today at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Hybiome Austrian Open, winning the longest table tennis match in modern history that lasted 1 hours, 32 minutes and 44 seconds. The legendary two-time European Champion upset world number 13 Honoka HASHIMOTO 4-3 (9-11, 5-11, 11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 16-14, 18-16) to prevail in the table tennis marathon.
The marathon match overtook the epic match between LI Jie and Hitomi Sato at this year's Qatar Open, which lasted just under 1 hour and 30 minutes.
"Unforgettable match, and wonderful, wonderful to win," shared an elated NI after her hard-earned victory.
The match overrun so much that the umpires had to call for the expedite rule in the decider to quicken the pace of the memorable encounter.
"I have never had the experience of playing with the expedite rule in my entire career, I'm a penholder, usually I play fast, so today is a very special experience for me. I was nearly out, I had so many match points, but because I'm not experienced enough I couldn't close the match. It's never too late to learn!" stated the 54-year-old legend.
NI had to recover from 0-2 games down at the start, fighting back to level 2-2 and eventually overcoming her 19-year-old opponent 18-16 to advance to the round of 16.
"She was leading 2-0, 3-2 but I managed to fight back. I'm really strong, I'm really proud of myself! At my age now, it's really tough for me, with stamina, problems with my knee, and the lack the lack of training, but I'm really excited that I never gave up in the match and finally made it."
NI will be facing off with HASHIMOTO's teammate Hina HAYATA tomorrow in the round of 16.
The Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum Hybiome Austrian Open continues tomorrow with the Men's & Women's Singles Round of 16 playoffs as well as Men's & Women's Doubles Quarterfinals.