Ma Long beats Fan Zhendong in thrilling final to retain men's singles title at table tennis worlds

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-05 22:08:32|Editor: Song Lifang
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DUSSELDORF, Germany, June 5 (Xinhua) -- World No. 1 Ma Long fought back from one game down to edge Chinese compatriot Fan Zhendon 4-3 to retain the men's singles title at the World Table Tennis Championships here on Monday.

Ma, also the Olympic champion in Rio, dropped the first game 11-7 but won three in a row for a 3-1 lead. The 20-year-old Fan, nine years Ma's junior, regained form and outplayed his rival 11-5, 11-7 to level the score at 3-3.

Fan, ranked second since November 2015, pulled ahead 2-0 in the deciding game before Ma made it 2-2.

Experience helped Ma force Fan into forehand errors and build a 6-3 lead. And Fan, who won just one of their previous 11 meetings, managed to equalize at 6-6 first and then 7-7.

Two backhand errors from Ma gave Fan a 9-7 lead, and once again, Ma fought back and made it 9-9. When Fan hit a forhand at the net, it was 10-9 in Ma's favor. Fan broke his teammate with a powerful long shot to pull it even.

Fan sent the ball out to give Ma an 11-10 advantage before Ma smashed a forhand hard and successfully and won the title at 12-10.

"It was the craziest game I have played," Ma told the audience. "I don't think I will ever play a game like this again. It was worth being remembered for the entire life."