CHENGDU, China, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Table tennis "Grand Slam" winner Ma Long lost to World Cup debutant Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei here on Sunday to finish fourth at the annual top-class tournament.
It was the second straight defeat that Ma committed in a day after the 31-year-old was beaten 11-6, 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 4-11, 11-5 by Japanese teenager Harimoto Tomokazu earlier in the semifinals.
Trapped in the same situation as that of his semi encounter with the 16-year-old Harimoto, Ma suffered a slow start in the 3rd-place match against Lin and was fiercely challenged on his forehand.
Trailing 2-0, 3-2 on sets, the former world No. 1 and current Olympic and world champion managed to pull two sets back and forced out a decider before losing it 11-4, 13-11, 8-11, 9-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4 to his 18-year-old opponent.
The second seed, who had been absent from competition due to a knee injury before the world No. 4 played two doubles matches in the Team World Cup in Tokyo earlier this month, refused to show up at the post-match press conference citing unfitness.
Lin, who lost to world No. 1 and top seed Fan Zhendong in four straight sets in the semis, said it's unexpected to come out the first Chinese Taipei paddler to win a World Cup medal.
"I could have been satisfied with a last-four finish, and a bronze medal is surprising," he said.