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Ma Long earns fifth title at 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals


12-12-2016 13:03 BJT

China’s Olympic table tennis champion Ma Long faced compatriot Fan Zhendong in the championship match of the World Tour Grand Finals in Doha.

Ma was looking to repeat as champ and win his fifth title at the event. Ma won the first game 11-4 and the second 11-5, but Fan showed more determination in the third, taking a 2-nothing lead. Tied at 9, the world number one took advantage of an error by Fan and won, gaining a 3-0 lead. Fan, on the verge of being swept, was able to focus his game, and won the fourth game 11-7 to prolong the match.

The fifth was a tug of war, Fan’s shot was too hot to handle for his opponent, and the underdog led 4-2. Ma mounted a comeback and was on match point, at 10-7, but missed his shot, giving Fan a chance to stay in it.

Fan won seven of the next nine points, whipping a forehand for a winner, and won the game 14-12, closing the the gap to the 3-2.

Things were tight in the sixth; Ma was in front 10-9, and sealed victory when Fan could not get a return over the net. The world number one won the championship in six games, his fifth title at the event, and 60,000 dollars in prize money.


Ma Long of China celebrates after winning the men's singles final match against his teammate Fan Zhendong at the Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Doha, capital of Qatar, on Dec. 11, 2016. Ma Long won 4-2. (Xinhua/Nikku)

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