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Chinese world No.1 paddlers crowned at table tennis Volkswagen Cup

2010-03-31 10:52 BJT

GUANGZHOU, South China, March 30 (Xinhua) -- World No. 1 paddlers Ma Long and Liu Shiwen claimed the men's and women's titles of the inaugural Volkswagen Cup in China, each pocketing 50,000 dollars prize money and driving home a Volkswagen Tiguan car.

The younthy Chinese duo barely met challenges making their way through to the top podium, as the 21-year-old Ma got crowned losing only one sets in three matches and Liu, who turns 19 years in two weeks, went on with all 4-1 victories.

Facing South Korea's former world runner-up Joo Se Hyuk in the men's singles final, Ma, who was the bronze medalist at the 2009 world championships but has not yet guaranteed a spot in the Chinese men's squad for the team worlds in Moscow in May, left no room of errors against his defensive style rival and won it 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-4.

Ma breezily beat the 2003 world champion Werner Schlager of Austria and the reigning European champion Michael Maze of Denmark 4-0 in a row to set up the final against Joo, who rallied past Japan's Jun Mizutani 4-2 in the semis after surprisingly ousting Germany's world No. 2 Timo Boll Monday evening in five sets.

On the women's side, Liu, who's a Liaoning native but plays for Guangdong province, seemed a little bit distracted as she won the Asian Cup just two days ago, but was still in the league of her own, nailing down Dutch Li Jiao, chopper Kim Kyung Ah of South Korea and Singapore's Feng Tian Wei one after another to take the title.

Being a B-class event of the sport's governing body ITTF, the Volkswagen 2010 Cup attracted a surprising big package of table tennis elites from all over the world with a total of 250,000 U.S. dollars, a much higher prize money rate than some of the ProTour Opens.

Also the Volkswagen Cup offered cute games with Spectacular Pairs lining up for gala, as well as a unique fasion show of table tennis outfit lines designed by Japan's Naomi Yotsumoto, nicknamed "Lady Gaga in Ping Pang" for her hyperbolic style of wearings during some national competitions of Japan.

Right before Ma and Liu's title winning finals on Tuesday evening, Belgian brothers Jean-Michel and Philippe Saive, who made their names to table tennis world in 1990s, took the trophy of the spectacular pairs competition after their creative and fun performance beating a host of celebrity names including China's Guo Yuehua and Sweden's Jurgen Persson.

The event's sponsors Volkswagen even prepared a total of 15,000 dollars to reward the spectacular pairs event's winners and runners-up in order to encourage the participation and to entertain the audience.

According to the organizers, the Volkswagen Cup will be made an annual event and will insist on adding the entertainments to the serious competitions.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua