Ma Long Takes 2018 ITTF China Open Crown to Edge Closer to History
MA Long has shown the world that he is still the king of table tennis by defeating the world number one FAN Zhendong to become the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Kaisa China Open Champion today 3 June in Shenzhen, China.
The World & Olympic Champion's seventh China Open victory is his 26thITTF World Tour title, which leave him just one behind the legendary Vladimir SAMSONOV's record of 27.
A lack of activity over the last 12 months due to injury and becoming a father for the first time meant that MA Long's world ranking has dropped back to six. However, his devastating performance to defeat the current world number one 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-3, 14-12 showed the world that he is still the best table tennis player on earth.
The 29-year-old stated, "I'm very happy to be playing the final against Fan Zhendong and being able to win such a high levelled opponent, this victory will give me a lot more confidence in the future and thank you to the organisers and all the staff here who worked hard to give us such a great environment to compete in!"
It was a clash between generations in an all-Chinese Women's Singles Final as two-time World Junior Champion WANG Manyu took on three-time World Champion DING Ning.
In an enthralling final between the current captain of the Chinese National Team and the up and coming star saw the tide going both ways as both DING and WANG fought to take the lead and close the match. It was the 19-year-old WANG who prevailed in the decider to take the match 4-3 (13-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5) and take her third ITTF World Tour title of the year in front of the cheering home crowd.
"I think this victory is means a lot to me and the match is really great in terms of building my will as a young player to be able to overcome so many difficulties on court such as my strong opponent and my own injuries," shared WANG after the victory ceremony.
DING did not go home empty handed as she paired with teammate, world number two ZHU Yuling (CHN) to take the Women's Doubles crown after winning 3-1 over Korea Republic's dynamic duo JEON Jihee & YANG Haeun.
FAN Zhendong (CHN) and LIN Gaoyuan (CHN) ended the dream run of surprise finalists Ovidiu IONESCU (ROU) & Alvaro ROBLES (ESP) who shocked World Champions MA Long (CHN) & XU Xin (CHN) to make the Men's Doubles Final on their first pairing. FAN & LIN stormed their authority and avenged for their compatriots' loss 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-4) to take the title on home soil.
The Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Kaisa China Open is the third of six ITTF World Tour Platinum events in 2018, which is the top tier of the ITTF World Tour with the most prize money and world ranking points. Together with the six regular ITTF World Tour events, players compete to earn World Tour Standings points to be one of top 16 to qualify for the one-million-dollar World Tour Grand Finals in December.
With the conclusion of the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Kaisa China Open, the world's top table tennis stars now head to Kitakyushu, Japan for the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour LION Japan Open to be held from 8-10 June 2018.