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Table Tennis: Ma Long edges closer to record with 20th Tour title

Ma Long is now just six titles away from Vladimir Samsonov’s World Tour record. Photo: ITTF.

Ma Long is now just six titles away from Vladimir Samsonov’s World Tour record. Photo: ITTF.

August 9, 2015: World No. 1 Ma Long took one more step closer to creating history by winning his 20th ITTF World Tour title at the China Open, the final Super Series event of the year.

 

Ma, 26, edged closer to the legendary Vladimir Samsonov’s record of 26 World Tour titles with an impressive victory over World No. 2 Xu Xin in Dujiangyan, Chengdu.

 

The reigning world champion, who had to come from behind in the semi-final to beat Yuya Oshima from Japan, was simply too powerful for his teammate in the final, winning 4-1 (13-15, 11-4, 11-7, 12-10, 11-9).

 

“This is the sixth time I have won the China Open, so it is very special to me. It also takes me one step closer to Samsonov’s record,” Ma said. “Xu is always a very tough opponent. I knew I had to be in my best form to defeat him and thankfully I was in front of this awesome crowd.”

 

Xu did win in the doubles, teaming up with Fan Zhendong to defeat compatriots Fang Bo and Zhu Linfeng 10-12, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 9-11 in the final.

 

Zhu Yuling, who is from Sichuan province, used her home-ground advantage perfectly as she blew current world Champion Ding Ning off the court in a ruthless display in front of the capacity crowd. The 20-year-old won her second ITTF World Tour 4-0 (11-9, 11-4, 13-11, 11-8) to claim gold.

 

“I really felt the support today from my local crowd,” stated the World No. 3. “I know Ding Ning is an amazing player, so I needed to be at the top of my game. It was a surprise that I played so well and won 4-0. This was because I put all my heart and soul into match. I am so happy to be the champion.”

 

Liu Shiwen made up for her disappointing semi-final loss to Zhu by teaming up with Chen Meng to claim the women’s doubles title, defeating their teammates Gu Yuting and Mu Zi 3-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-8).

 

In the under 21 singles, Hitomi Sato from Japan won her fifth title of the year and seventh overall. Jang Woojin from Korea, the 2013 junior world champion, won the men’s under 21 title.

 

Source: ITTF (www.ittf.com); Editing by SportAsia

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